Presnell takes helm of EHS track program

Published 10:53 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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There is something about the sport of track and field that keeps calling Jim Presnell’s name and he keeps placing his feet in the starting blocks ready to help the next athlete excel beyond what they could have ever imagined.
In 2022, Presnell tutored Landry Buckles to a state championship in one of Presnell’s favorite events in the discus. Ironically, Buckles broke Presnell’s 50-year record at the school in the event.
Now, Presnell has accepted the opportunity to once again head up the program that he once coached for several years before moving to Alabama to take over a program at a school in that state for a period of time.
“First of all, I thought I had lost my mind the next morning after I told them I would do it,” said Presnell about taking over the EHS program once again. “I woke up and said, “What have I done?” “
Part of the reason behind his decision was to assist cross country head coach Matt Campbell to get acclimated to his new role after taking over for the departed Mark Newman, who took a full-time pastorate in Fall Branch.
“Coach Campbell is such a nice, hard working young man and he has always been a football coach but one morning he woke up and we had been working together for three years with the throwers and I kept telling him that cross country was the best sport that I had ever coached. He decided to quit coaching football and coach cross country and this was even before Coach Newman left as he was just going to be a volunteer and help. As things fell, he just needed someone to be with him that had done it before to help him with the little nuances and things. He is the guy that does all the paperwork and I write the workouts.”
Presnell shared that the team is using the same workouts as they did in 2004 and if the current team can run the same workouts that they did then, he expected they would have the chance to be highly successful.
The coach said that ultimately his main goal is just to be an asset to help Coach Campbell settle into his new role after having such a long tenure of coaching the two sportsĀ  during his career.
“The track thing – they just switched around and made me the head coach and him the assistant coach,” said Presnell. “It is going to be a lot of the same thing as I am going to put a lot of the paperwork on him and I will try to organize practice so it goes well. Coach Campbell is a nice guy and I am just happy I get to help him. It’s kind of a pay-it-forward type of thing. I coached here 30 years before I left and I just loved it and wanted to succeed and I look at him and 25 years from now someone else will be doing this interview but I hope he is still here doing it.”
Presnell added that there were several athletes that he felt just barely missed out on reaching the state podium in the 2022 year and with the proper workouts in place that won’t occur in the 2023 season. One thing that he does hope to see in his time is Buckles becoming the first male high school athlete in the discus to throw for 200 feet in the state of Tennessee.
“I thought that we had a lot of talent and a lot of places that we just barely missed that maybe this coming year that we won’t miss,” said Presnell. “It was a lot of fun coaching Landry Buckles even though the broke my 50-year-old school record. What a talent he is. I am sure Coach Witten has talked about him playing football on the defensive side. When football season is over, we will be back out there in January training again.”
The new track coach has already thought ahead about what his future holds as a coach.
“I figure I will hang around for two years with track and cross country and that will be a good way to ride off into the sunset,” Presnell said.

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