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Leaving the ‘Hill… Gouge tabbed as new head coach for Crockett Lady Pioneers

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR 
There have been a lot of sleepless nights this week for Thomas Gouge who was weighing in the balance a decision of staying at the school that gave him his first head coaching position or jumping on board with an offer to take over at David Crockett High School.
In the end, the decision ultimately wasn’t about Gouge but about those who depend on Gouge for their livelihood and that was his family.
Gouge opted to make the gut-wrenching decision to move off Warrior Hill and take over a program that in the last eight to ten years seen its fair share of head coaches.
But also a program that came with a better salary and in a very competitive Big 7 Conference with the likes of Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett, and Daniel Boone.
“I had a lot of passionate players at Happy Valley and it was just a pleasure to coach them,” Gouge said about his time at Happy Valley. “Those were two years that I am never going to forget and will cherish for the rest of my life.
“11 of the 13 players that we dressed out this season will be returning next season so it will be an enticing job to take for someone who is looking for a great first season.”
Gouge went 16-11 in his first season at the helm of the Lady Warriors and then 17-14 in this past campaign compiling an overall 33-25 record in his first two years as a head coach at Happy Valley.
He said that he wasn’t looking for a job when the opening came up but that changed with a single call from Crockett Athletic Director Josh Kyte who told Gouge that there was only one target in the crosshairs and that was Gouge.
“Crockett is a great program and has been showing lots of improvement,” Gouge stated. “Josh has been doing an amazing job as all of Crockett’s programs are on the rise and he is really working to build a winning culture there.
“It’s very bittersweet for me because I love the Happy Valley community and I love the girls. I haven’t slept for the last three nights but it was something that I had to do for my family.”
Gouge said he owes a lot to Happy Valley for taking a chance on him by giving him his first job at the helm of a program.
“These past two years have been great years,” commented Gouge. “I will be forever grateful to the community and Happy Valley for giving me my first head coaching job.
“I feel like the girls are in better shape now than when I first got here. I hope they get a good coach that will continue to build on what we started.”
Gouge realizes that he will have a lot to prove when he arrives on campus at Crockett but feels like he can bring some changes that will help the program improve.
“From day one I want to show that I am dedicated to what I am bringing to the table,” said Gouge. “The girls will need to buy into my philosophy and we will be holding each other accountable as we get on the same page.”
Gouge informed his team on Thursday of his decision.