East Ridge Pioneers baseball coach Lee Coffman resigns

East Ridge Pioneers baseball coach Lee Coffman resigns

May 30th, 2012 by Ward Gossett in Sports - Preps

East Ridge High School's baseball coach Lee Coffman is seen in this file photo.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Lee Coffman, for the past 12 seasons the baseball coach at East Ridge, has resigned that position.

"We appreciate his service. He has worked hard for East Ridge High School," principal Zac Brown said.

Coffman, who was hired in 1983 by then-principal Ed Woodham, plans to remain at the school at least through the 2012 football season and serve on the staff of whomever Brown hires as the new football coach. Mike Martin, who had that position for four years, resigned last week.

Coffman just finished his 29th year at the school. He began as a basketball assistant to Mike Olinger and served many years as freshman basketball or assistant baseball coach. He joined the football staff in 2000, the same year he assumed the head baseball duties. He also served five years (1995-2000) as the school's golf coach.

"I have been at it a long time," he said. "I feel I have helped a lot of kids, but I also think it's time for new blood."

Coffman coached a number of players either in school ball or summer leagues who have gone into coaching including Steve Garland, Joe Wingate, Trey Hicks and Glen Carter. Garland is coaching at East Hamilton, Hicks at Red Bank and Carter at Central. Wingate, former Ooltewah coach, is teaching and serving as an assistant football coach at East Hamilton and is a Chattanooga State assistant baseball coach.

"I've made a lot of friendships through my positions at East Ridge. I've enjoyed the ride," Coffman said. "However, you have to have a passion for the game, and right now it has been hard to hold that passion between fundraisers, field maintenance and all of the other things that go on behind the scenes."

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765.