Brad Laxton has resigned as East Ridge wrestling coach after taking the Pioneers to the Region 4-A/AA district championship and to the state duals tournament.
"It's simply what's best for my family and me right now," said Laxton, who just completed his third season as the Pioneers' coach. "It was a tough decision to walk away from the East Ridge wrestling program. Over three years I have gotten close, really close, to some of the kids. You teach a way of life and you see kids adapt and change the way they've been doing things. It's tough to leave them."
However, Laxton, the father of three, saw an opportunity to be closer to home and to have more time with his family and took it. He'll be moving across the county from East Ridge to Soddy-Daisy, which is less than five minutes from his home.
"I wasn't looking for an opportunity but there it was and who knows how many times those types of opportunities come around," he said. "This move makes it more accessible for them to come to me or me being at home more. Being the son of a coach, I grew up in that environment and it's pretty natural to me."
Laxton will be a football assistant and also will be involved in the Soddy-Daisy wrestling program when he moves at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
"I'm trying to develop our athletic staff and put people together," Soddy-Daisy assistant principal and athletic director Steve Henry said. "We just hired two young coaches in Jim Higgins (wrestling) and Justin Barnes (football) and this is another coach/teacher that will be in the building, and that was one of the biggest programs [former football] Coach [Kevin] Orr faced. He didn't have enough coaches in the building."
Laxton likes the idea of being close to a young family that includes a 10-month-old.
"It's where my kids will go to school and I'll be saving money by not driving back and forth [to East Ridge]. It's like getting a raise," he said.
East Ridge had a 24-8 record and had two state medalists in Brandon Cantrell (195) and C.J. Baker.
East Ridge principal Zac Brown has already posted the job opening on the TSSAA website.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...