Two Rhea County High School coaches were offered the job of head baseball coach at McMinn Central High School (Englewood) but decided to remain in their current jobs.
Golden Eagle assistant football coach Matt Hampton talked to Charger principal Roger Freeman about the job first.
Hampton played shortstop on McMinn Central's baseball team and is a 1989 graduate of the school. He went on to play shortstop at Roane State Community College (Harriman) and at Tennessee Wesleyan College (Athens).
"I'm tickled with what I'm doing at Rhea County and wasn't looking for a job, but they called me. Because of my family ties (in McMinn County), I felt I was obligated to talk to them," Hampton said. "I would have been head baseball coach and assistant football coach and would teach wellness like I do here. It would have been around a $4,000-a-year raise."
Hampton turned down the job due to timing.
"It was hard to turn down," he said. "But I enjoy what I am doing here and working with Coach Fitzgerald and the staff," Hampton said. "It was the first week of football practice, and I would have let down the kids and all the coaches at RCHS."
Hampton coaches the Golden Eagle football secondary and running backs.
He said a job change would also have involved moving his family late in the summer-and finding a new job for his wife, who teaches at Rhea Central Elementary.
"We decided Rhea County is better for us at this time," he said. "I'm hoping we can get things rolling this football season."
Golden Eagle head baseball coach Wes Caldwell was also on Freeman's list of possible replacements for Coach Joe Shamblin. Shamblin left McMinn Central to become an assistant coach at Walker Valley High School under Shamblin's former high school coach, Mike Turner.
Caldwell is a 1988 graduate of McMinn Central and played second base on the Charger's baseball team.
He played second base at Roane State and later was an assistant coach there and at Tennessee Wesleyan.
"It (the McMinn Central job) was something that was brought up to me. I wasn't looking for a job and had no reason to. But that's where I'm from and I still love the program and the school," Caldwell said. "I felt strong enough about the program to go and see what they had to say."
Caldwell's success as the Golden Eagle head baseball coach caught Freeman's attention.
"Wes sure has a successful program at Rhea County," Freeman said. "Of course, we have had a successful program here, too."
"There are positives and negatives to any program. Joe's teams went to state two out of the four years he was there. They have a good program and it would have been a raise," Caldwell said. "I didn't turn down the job at Central because of any negatives they may have. I want to see McMinn Central do well. I chose to stay at Rhea County because of the overwhelming positives here."
Caldwell has coached baseball at RCHS since 1995. He spent one year as an assistant under Doug Keylon before he was named head coach. He taught at Spring City Elementary for four years before moving to the high school in Evensville.
"I absolutely love Rhea County and feel very fortunate to work under the people I do. I love and respect them, the kids and their parents," Caldwell said. "It's a wonderful job, and I can't think of a better one. I thank God every day that I'm a part of it."
Caldwell also sees potential in his team.
"If I didn't think we could make it to the next level, I'd consider McMinn Central," he said. But we (the Golden Eagle baseball team) had a good summer."
Travis Hart, the former head coach at Tennessee Wesleyan (1995-98) accepted the head baseball coach position at McMinn Central, according to Freeman.