WATERTOWN — Many times changing coaches at the high school level comes with a some heartbreak and more than a little gnashing of teeth.
But not all the time.
Lane Price, head coach of the Purple Tigers for one full season and only a handful of games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 shutdown, has turned those duties over to his assistant coach.
Price, who was the 2019 Wilson County Coach of the Year for his record-setting 19-8 season, will move to an assistant coaching position.
Moving up from assistant at WHS to head coach is none other than Mark Purvis.
“This is nothing that came from Mr. Brown or the administration,” Price said Wednesday morning. “This is something Coach Purvis and I talked about all of last school year.
“Anytime you can add somebody with his baseball pedigree to our high school, you’d be crazy not to make the switch. I told him that from the very beginning.”
A recent inductee into the Cumberland University Sports Hall of Fame, Purvis compiled an overall record of 516 wins and 194 losses (a winning percentage of .726) in 18 years as the head coach at Mt. Juliet High.
A 1989 graduate of Mt. Juliet, Purvis resigned at his alma mater in May of 2019.
“Lane was was wanting to step aside right then and there. But Mark needed a little time to think it over and get acclimated to what we’re all about.”
A former U.S. Army Paratrooper, Price won over 100 games as the head coach of the girls’ basketball team at Watertown before stepping down to concentrate on baseball.
“I love Watertown,” Price said. “This transition is no big deal, I’m excited about it. It might be a big deal to some, but honestly it’s not that big a deal for me.”
“Something about this place really excites me,” Purvis said. “I think good things are happening here at Watertown.”
Purvis said his family will eventually be moving from Lebanon to a farm in Cannon County, “only about 15 minutes from Watertown.”
Price will also take over as coach of both the boys’ and girls’ golf teams at Watertown this fall.
PURVIS AT MJHS — Purvis coached teams at Mt. Juliet played in eight TSSAA sectional games and won the District 9-AAA championship nine times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 20012, 2013, 2016 & 2018).
During his tenure at Mt. Juliet over 100 of his players went on on to play college baseball, including nine going to the SEC — eight to Vanderbilt University and one to the University of Tennessee.
Out of those players, six have gone on to play professional baseball, with three making to the Major Leagues.
Article courtesy of Tommy Bryan and The Wilson Post