CORBIN — Lynn Camp principal Anthony Pennington and athletic director Rob Ledington believe they’ve hit the ball out of the ball park by naming Rodney Clarke as the Lady Wildcats girls varsity basketball coach on Tuesday.
Pennington said the vacancy received a lot of interest from coaches across the state, but when it came down to it, he and Ledington felt hiring Clarke was a no-brainer.
“Obviously, I was very nervous to get this right,” Pennington said. “When it came down to it, everything came into play, and it seems like a blessing that we were able to get Coach Clarke. He brings experience, has a great academic background, and he was recommended very highly.
“We want to take the next step, and we believe with the hire of Coach Clarke, we will be able to do that,” he added. “We were able to make the semifinals of the region last year, but we want to contend in the region, and I believe we will be able to do that. We’ve got a great coach, and I don’t think we could have gotten a better one. I’m very excited about the future.”
Ledington echoed Pennington’s sentiments.
“I really believe he is one of the most qualified people we could possibly get,” he said. “I’m really amazed we got him. I’m tickled to death. His credentials are out of the roof.”
Clarke spent last season as an assistant coach with the Talladega College Tornadoes. He also spent time as an assistant coach with Lake Superior State and the University of the Cumberlands. At the high school ranks, Clarke had assistant coach stints at Alabama's Indian Springs High School and John Carroll High School. He began his basketball coaching career at Alabama’s Blount High School.
“I’m excited. I’m excited about this opportunity, and I’m excited about the situation,” Clarke said. “I can’t wait to get started. My time is going to be practice time. I can’t wait to start working with them, and start getting things done.
“I’ve got some big shoes to follow, but I am excited, though,” he added. “I know we have some seniors we have lost from this past season, but I like the situation we are in with the young players. I like to be able to hit the ground running tomorrow, and I like that I’ll be able to gauge the players in a game setting.”
Clarke hasn't committed to a certain style of play for the Lady Wildcats, but admitted his teams will do whatever it takes to win.
“I’m going to take the Bill Belichick philosophy. I want us to be able to do what we have to do in that (certain) game to win,” he said. “If that means speeding teams up the entire game to win, then let’s do it. If we have to slow it down and run sets, let’s do it that way. Whatever it takes to when that game, we will have it in our package. I’ll have them prepared, and we will have a wide variety in their package.
“We’ve got to crawl before we walk,” he added. “I understand that, and I can’t rush the process. It would be misleading for me to think that we are just going to get right back to the region. First, we’ve got to buy in and be together. Then we can start putting things together, and lead to playing the right way. Hopefully that will lead us to winning some games, and hopefully that will lead us to winning our district. Then we can get to region, but it’s going to be a process first, though.”