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Pioneer coach takes Unicoi job, leaves legacy


H&T Correspondent

David Crockett basketball coach John Good’s unprecedented six-year run at David Crockett has come to a halt.

Good is leaving to accept the same position at Unicoi County. The Class AA Blue Devils have been to nine sectionals in the past 15 years under coaches John English, who is now the superintendent, and his successor Michael Smith.

Crockett has been to three Class AAA sectionals since the school opened in 1971, and Good accounted for two of those in 2016 and ’17.

“I’ve always had great respect for Coach English and Coach Smith – what they did and the way their teams played,” Good said. “They love the game and they love kids.”

With his record-setting son Patrick leading the way, Good guided David Crockett’s program to its first state tournament berth in 2016 after finishing an impressive two-game sweep of a powerful Tee Higgins-led Oak Ridge team that season.

Dustin Day and Brendan Coleman played exceptionally in the sectional win at Oak Ridge, and Good delivered one of his many game-winners for the Pioneers, who’d previously beaten Oak Ridge that season in one of the most entertaining Arby’s Classic games of all-time.

Oak Ridge was especially motivated after that loss, but Crockett didn’t enter a sold-out gym intimidated or nervous.

“I remember being down 10 in the third quarter at Oak Ridge with 1:47 on the clock and I was like – I remember just looking at our coaches and I could see our kids, and they weren’t rattled,” John Good said. “And I’m like, ‘Shoot, we’re gonna win this thing.’ … That was an awesome feeling.”

The senior-laden team suffered a disappointing 78-68 loss to Station Camp in the state quarterfinals, but Crockett got back to the sectional with an overhauled roster the following season thanks to dynamo combo guard Josh “Rico” Releford.

“He really went to work that season,” Good said. “He was a warrior, that’s for sure. … Those first four years – it was good to get everybody’s attention. Everybody had to start scouting Crockett. I just thought that was fun, and the kids and the community really supported each other. It was just a fun ride.”

David Crockett athletic director Josh Kite agreed.

“He’s given us so much here at Crockett,” Kite said. “And I don’t want to be selfish, but I’d have honestly loved for him to stay here. But it is what it is and it’s what’s best for him and his family. We had a good conversation over the phone a couple of nights ago and he thought it was best to explore other options in the classroom and coaching.

“I commend him for everything he did for us at Crockett. He gave us six years of great basketball and he’s done stuff here that nobody’s been able to do. He went to the state (tournament) and gave us an opportunity to win.”

Good thanked Kite and former principal Andy Hare for giving him his first head coaching job.

“Coach Hare gave me an opportunity, took a chance on me, a guy who’d never been a head coach before – him and Josh together,” Good said. “ And Mrs. (Peggy) Wright and everyone else there have been great, school board members … have been so supportive with our program and what we do.”

Good will continue to teach at Crockett for the semester’s remainder. Kite said he’d like to hire a coach within a month, but won’t make a hasty hire with spring camp in mind.