The Greenback baseball team has found its new coach in former assistant coach at William Blount, Justin Ridenour.
Ridenour will take over the program from Wes Caldwell, who stepped down to return to Ooltewah as an assistant coach under Brian Hitchcox after having filled that position from 2015-17.
It’s a daunting position for Ridenour given Greenback is coming off a historic season in which it won its first Class A state title.
“I’m going to embrace it,” Ridenour said. “Any team that has that high of expectations — that’s a good thing in my opinion. I don’t think you can run from that. I’m excited about it. They’ve kind of laid the foundation. Now, it’s my time to just continue to build on what they’ve already been doing.”
Ridenour served as assistant coach for William Blount’s varsity program for five years. He also played baseball for Alcoa and Cleveland State.
Ridenour said he heard rumors at the end of the school year that the head coaching position at Greenback might become vacant. He decided to throw his hat in the ring.
“Obviously as a high school assistant coach, I’d always had a dream of being a head coach and leading my own program,” Ridenour said. “It all happened so fast.”
Before he knew it, Ridenour was offered the job. He is inheriting a young team, with Greenback graduating its core of players after edging Trinity Christian, 2-1, in the state championship.
“All you can do really is go work as hard as you know how to work and try to develop some kids,” Ridenour said. “They’ve tasted success — hopefully they’re still hungry for it and know what to expect. I’m going to lean on them a little bit, too, because they’ve won a state championship. They know what it takes.”
In Caldwell’s two years at the helm, the Cherokees amassed a 64-20 record that included their first state title as well as back-to-back District 2-A and Region 1-A championships.
Caldwell returns to the Chattanooga area, where he has spent most of his high school coaching career. He served as the head coach at Rhea County (1996-2010) and Lookout Valley (2012-14).