Sequatchie County High School has hired Willie Young and Kasey Woodlee to head its boys' and girls' basketball programs beginning next season.
Young is a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga graduate and was a member of the 1996-97 team that reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. After leaving UTC, Young traveled overseas and played professionally for 10 years and coached professionals another six years.
He said he returned to the United States about seven months ago and was working at a prep school in upstate New York. Last month the Mocs' Sweet 16 team had a 20-year reunion in Chattanooga, and Young said that while in town for the celebration he heard there was a coaching opening in the area and managed to work out a deal with Sequatchie principal Tommy Layne.
"I always wanted to come back down South," Young said. "My home is Norfolk, Virginia, but Chattanooga has been my second home.
"Plus, the weather is better down here."
Young said the professional teams in Europe are connected to youth programs, so he got the opportunity to work with younger players while there.
"When I came back to the States and started attending high school games and AAU games, I saw a need because the players here didn't have the fundamentals," Young said of why he wanted to get into coaching at the high school level. "In Europe, everybody is sound. And I love to teach. To me, fundamentals are very important."
Young is replacing Jason Smith while Woodlee is succeeding Ron Davis. She was an assistant for a year alongside Davis, who surpassed 1,000 wins as a girls' high school basketball coach last season.
"I played at Grundy County for Ricky Richards and coached under him as well," said Woodlee, who was a member of the Lady Yellow Jackets' 1998 Class AA state championship team before signing with South Alabama and later playing at Cleveland State Community College and Lee University. "There are several things I've learned from those two. Coach Davis is an all-around great guy, too. He still calls and checks on me."
Woodlee inherits a young team that returns two starters. She said she taught her players about half of the defenses she plans to use and will teach the other half after teams resume practicing Oct. 30.
"My whole thing is to hustle on defense," Woodlee said. "Hustling takes zero talent. I like to vary up my defenses according to who we're playing. We'll have different traps and different zones. I think my strength as a coach is looking at who we're playing and getting in the best defense to go against their offense."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter @KelleySmiddie.