Hunters Lane adds elder statesmen to coaching staff

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 2:10am
Last week, when Hunters Lane High was playing in the Metro Jamboree at Maplewood, an official came over and issued the team a sideline warning.

They were enforcing a new rule, necessitating that football coaches and players too close to the sideline to move back. Coach Richard Campbell had a witty suggestion for the ref.

“I told him I’d tell my younger coaches and players to move back. But I added that he himself was going to have to inform my elders, coach Elrod and Hemontoler, to move back.’’ The official smiled. No penalty.

In Wes Elrod, 68, and Terry Hemontoler, 60, the Warriors do indeed have a pair of coaches with a combined 80-plus years of experience, perhaps more than any two on a staff in Nashville. Each has come on board to work for Campbell who, at 44, is young enough to be their son.

The additions were necessary after the departures of defensive coordinator Dennis Moreno (who became head coach at Hillsboro) and defensive line coach Matt Clay.

Campbell found out Elrod was available when he discovered that Elrod no longer was needed on the Wilson Central staff. He called in December and had an offensive co-ordinator shortly.

Hemontoler’s arrival was somewhat different. He had been coaching with Ron Aydelott for 11 years (eight at Hillsboro, three at Riverdale). In order to collect his maximum Metro retirement benefits, he had to coach his final three years in Metro. In January, thanks in good part to Hemontoler’s decision to get back on Metro sidelines, Campbell had an offensive backs and defensive line coach.

“Unofficially, I’ve retired eight times,’’ Elrod said, laughing. “But I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this, to work with Richard and Terry whom I’ve known for so long.’’

“Plus, (Hunters Lane) principal Dr. Susan Kessler and I are old friends, I came over and looked at some old football films, and the situation was just right for me. Terry and I coached for one year together at Mt. Juliet High in 1996, assistants under Coach Greg Mantooth,’’ he added. “That was a lot of fun. It’s nice to be reunited after all this time.’’

“My leaving Riverdale and Ron was very difficult, there were no hard feelings,’’ Hemontoler said. “He was one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever worked with. I wish him nothing but the best at Riverdale.

“I was part of both the start and the end of that long Riverdale district and region winning streak of about 10 years they had — in a bad way,’’ Hemontoler said. “They started it against us at Mt. Juliet, then it ended in Ron’s first year there.’’

Among his many coaching stops, Elrod has been coaching at Donelson, old North High, Mt. Juliet and Smyrna, with lengthy head coaching stints at Maplewood and McGavock.

Hemontoler has a coach at Lebanon (his alma mater), Mt. Juliet, one year at Hunters Lane, along with his stops with Aydelott at Hillsboro and Riverdale.

“God has blessed me with two coaches of their experience and expertise,’’ said Campbell who is starting his seventh year at Hunters Lane. “It came at a time when we lost some really good coaches and needed some good ones to replace them.’’

Hunters Lane, which lost in the first round of the 5A playoffs last year, will open its season Friday night when the Warriors host Stratford — Campbell’s alma mater and a place where he used to be head coach.

Starting Friday, Campbell will have a wealth of experience roaming with him on the sidelines. But he will defer demands of referees on sideline warnings to others.

JPII’s Hansen to Bellarmine

Pope JPII standout catcher Lauren Hansen has signed to play softball at Bellarmine in Louisville, Ky. Hansen batted .540 with 12 triples and four homers for the Knights.