The hiring of Grover Levy as girls basketball coach at Battle Ground Academy seems to be a perfect fit.
The mild-mannered and even-tempered Levy ought to complement a team that hasn’t had much success in recent years but looks ripe for a move upward.
“When the job came open rather late and they contacted me, it was something I couldn’t pass up – for me, it (taking the job) was a slam dunk,” Levy said, just after team camp play at Belmont University over the weekend.
Levy has come full circle – from coaching at University School of Nashville, to nearby Franklin High, to 90 miles South down I-24 to St. Andrews-Sewanee, then back to Williamson County. There, he joins the BGA staff in a job he accepted two weeks ago. He will oversee the entire basketball program from K-12.
Levy, 43, was first a coach at Cameron Middle School where he took the Panthers to a city co-championship. From there, he was coach at USN for seven years where he had a Miss Basketball finalist (Kristi Nye), two years at Franklin (one region semifinal) and two at St. Andrews (where the program played its first sectional).
“I’m thankful for the opportunity headmaster John Griffith and AD Robert Jemison have given me,” he said. “We’re going to play with what I call the ‘Wildcat Way’ – being a tough team, not just play every game that way, but playing tough on every possession – offense and defense.”
Adapting to team quickly
Levy got a heads up on some of the Wildcats’ core group when he coached the YBOA Magic team at A-Game Sportsplex, which had three BGA players – Ellen Williams, Jessica Euverard (daughter of new BGA football coach Marty) and Mary Hannah Winstead. The Magic won the girls 15-under state tournament last month.
“I enjoyed coaching those three, and I was impressed with how hard they played and were willing to work,” he said.
The Wildcats have just one senior, Maggie Barlow who has been out after Achilles surgery but is expected back for the season. They also will have five juniors, three sophomores and a bushel full of eight freshmen to adapt to his triangle offense system.
Asked if he had spoken with outgoing coach Angie Muir, Levy said, “Yes, she has helped make the transition so smoothly and has been so helpful.”
Levy said he had three main goals that sought for his team.
“Love the game, play hard and have fun,’’ he said. “And the Honor Code.
“BGA is a special school, with so much tradition and history behind it. That’s what makes this job special.”
Griffith said Levy was “the clear choice” for BGA following an extensive search process.
“Most apparent was the fact that he brings the combination of skills and experience to lead not only the upper school program but to build the entire program in the long term,” Griffith said. “Of all the candidates, he had the most experience as a head coach at the high school level.”
Tough region foes and challenge await
A big challenge awaits Levy at BGA.
The Wildcats are in a monster DII-AA region with powerhouses like defending state champion Ensworth (which has won two of the last three titles), Brentwood Academy, Pope JPII, Harpeth Hall and Father Ryan.
Add that to the fact BGA never has been to a girls state tournament since DII play began in 1997. Only once (1996 in Class A) has the program ever reached the state.
“Ensworth, JPII, Ryan, BA, there are so many good teams in our region,” Levy said, “but we are not going to shy away from anyone. We are going to play with a tough mindset and a strong purpose, which will serve us well. This may not be something we can do overnight, but we are planning to be right in there soon.”
Much of Levy’s coaching philosophy and coaching techniques as well as how to build a program can be found on his web site, AskThePositiveCoach.com.
• Couey to CPA: Former Oakland High and Belmont basketball standout Michael Couey has joined the boys basketball staff at Christ Presbyterian Academy and will serve as an assistant under Coach Drew Maddux.
Couey was head coach at Cannon County for three seasons, then one at Memphis Bartlett, then the past two seasons at LaVergne High.
“Michael was at CPA for awhile, and we became good friends,” Maddux said. “We’ve stayed in touch, and we always said we’d like to get back and coach together, and everything worked out for that to happen. He’s a great addition.”
Couey was a star wing player for Oakland in their 32-2 state tournament semifinals run in 1996. He was a four-year letterman at Belmont (1997-01). He also was a standout player in tennis for the Patriots.
• Connor Moore signs with WKU: Connor Moore, one of the key players for Overton in its march to a school record 30 wins and the Class AAA baseball sectional, signed recently with Western Kentucky.
Moore, a catcher and infielder, was named District 12-AAA MVP and led the Bobcats to a perfect 12-0 district record and the district tournament championship and hit .591, with 13 homers and 77 RBIs.
• MBA 7-on-7 camp: Montgomery Bell Academy will host its third annual 7-on-7 passing camp 4:30-7 p.m., July 14, with Whites Creek, Stratford, Station Camp and two MBA teams competing, MBA will then play in the Vanderbilt camp July 15-17.
• Kentucky trips Tennessee in all-star soccer: Kentucky won the first Tennessee-Kentucky high school all-star soccer game with a 5-1 win Saturday at Vanderbilt. Cody Mitchell (Jackson Christian) scored the lone goal.