Alcoa’s Nix named to East/West coaching staff
Alcoa defensive coordinator Brian Nix was named as an assistant for the East squad for this year’s Toyota East/West All-Star Classic at Tennessee Tech.
“It’s a great opportunity. I was able to do it last year,” Nix said. “It’s fun to do.”
The event, slated for Dec. 8, will be staged on the turf at Overall Field on the campus of Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. EST/1 p.m. CST.
Head coaches for this year’s game are Caine Ballard of Greeneville (East) and Kevin Creasy of Trousdale County (West). Both have directed their respective high school teams. Helping Coach Ballard with the East team are Nix, Jason Fitzgerald of Hixson, Damon Floyd of Bradley Central, Tony Lambert of Oneida, Danny Bentley of Greeneville, Mike Zeller of Lenoir City and Steve Trapp of DeKalb County.
“This is a great coaching staff. It’s a hard-working group that really cares about the kids,” Nix told The Daily Times. “It’s an honor for me to go be a part of that. It’s an honor for some of our kids who will be playing in that game, as well. To me, it’s a real testament to what we do at Alcoa as a program and the success we’ve had.”
Assistant coaches for the West team include Anthony Crabtree of Beech, Wes Duncan of Columbia, Jeff Porter of White House, Rahnmann Slocum of Fairley, Kelly Spive of South Fulton, Eric Swenson of Huntingdon and Troy Williams of Dickson County.
“I think each member of the staff represents his half of the state very well,” explained Bill Marbet, Executive Director of the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association, the organizing body of the game. “Both large and small schools are equally represented, as are schools from metropolitan and rural communities. Cookeville and Tennessee Tech have welcomed us with open arms, providing help with a number of activities that await the players and coaches who have been selected to play in this special event.”
The event began as the Tennessee-Kentucky All-Star Game 30 years ago. The last five have pitted a group of West Tennessee selections versus East Tennessee selections as a highlight game. It is the only such all-star game sanctioned by the TSSAA.
“It’s really exciting because you get a bunch of good players out there together. They all want to see who is the best. So when you start the first practice you have to dial it down because those kids are getting after it, and you can see why they are in an all-star game. You’re not having to give a pep talk to get those guys going. They are all going as soon as they get out there,” Nix said of his experience last year. “When you go and coach kids that aren’t yours, it really makes you a better coach because you have to refine your coaching styles and talk in basics because everyone is used to different verbiage and terms for their own system at their own schools. I really learned a lot doing it and having to think about things that way.”
College-bound seniors from one end of the state to the other participate in this annual battle and are selected by high school coaches from all across Tennessee. Coaching staffs have already met to select players for this year’s game. The names of the 88 players slated to be involved in the event will be announced as soon as both lists are finalized.
This year’s game will be telecast live on all of the state’s PBS television stations. It will also be streamed on http://tssaanetwork.com and on http://ESPN3.com . Fans can also listen to the game on a statewide radio network via WKCS, the FM radio station for Knox County Schools. Fans can access that broadcast at http://www.WKCSradio.org .