Edwards takes over for Hall at Mercer

September 10, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

HARRODSBURG - Greg Edwards said he always wanted to be a head coach again, and now that Stacey Hall is taking his game to the next level, he'll have his chance at Mercer County.

Edwards, who took two Harrodsburg teams to the Sweet Sixteen in the 1990s, was named Tuesday as Mercer's boys basketball coach. He replaces Hall, who resigned to become an assistant coach at Centre College.

"Being an assistant coach definitely has its advantages, and being a coach is a coach," said Edwards, an assistant with the Mercer girls and boys for the past four years. "But being a head coach gets in your blood, and I knew at some point I would try to get back in."

Edwards joined the Mercer boys last year as an assistant coach, and his promotion provides the best possible transition for the Scotties just over a month before the start of practice.


"It's going to be a smoother transition, I think, for the players and the parents," Mercer principal Terry Yates said.

"I don't think the system's going to change much," Edwards said. "The players are going to know mostly what we do. It's not going to be like, say, Kentucky football, where it's a totally new system coming in."

Yates said he could tell Edwards was eager to get back in the game as a head coach.

"I think Greg was very excited and willing about the opportunity," Yates said. "He was content with what he was doing also but he's probably at the point where this is a good time to get back as a head coach."

Harrodsburg's head coach from 1989-97

Edwards was the head coach at Harrodsburg from 1989-97, where he compiled a 115-115 record and took the Pioneers to the state tournament in 1995 and 1996. His 1995 team remains the last 12th Region team to win a game in the state tourney.

He worked as an assistant coach with the Mercer girls for three years before moving to the boys team last year.

Yates said having a coach with those credentials at hand made the unusually late coaching change easier to deal with.

Another coach who joined the Mercer program last year, Chad Mayes, is expected to stay on as an assistant coach. Yates and Edwards said the search for another assistant coach is under way.

Edwards said he's grateful for the opportunity Mercer gave him after he resigned as Harrodsburg and for this chance as well.

"When I left Harrodsburg in '97, one thing you don't really think about too much is how few opportunities there are to be a head coach," he said. "There really are not that many jobs out there, and I'm just real appreciative of Mercer."

Edwards also said that even though the Scotties were hit hard by graduation after last year's 19-10 campaign, he believes they can remain competitive.

"We've got good players still here," he said.

Those players met with Hall on Monday, the day the Scotties were scheduled to start preseason conditioning, to learn that he had resigned earlier that day.

"I think there was a lot of shock," Hall said. "Nobody seemed upset; I didn't see anybody angry. They know that I'm still willing to work with them."

Armstrong's resignation opened door for Hall

The resignation of an assistant Chris Armstrong at Centre opened the door for Hall, who played one year for the Colonels and spent three seasons as a student assistant, to break into the college game at his alma mater.

"Me and (Centre coach Greg) Mason have always been close, and I always told him if the opportunity ever did arise, I'd love to get over there and help him," Hall said.

Hall said he talked with Mercer officials to make sure he would not leave the program in a bind.

"He said if there were any doubts or if it would be a problem in any way that he wouldn't consider it," Yates said. "I think Stacey has an opportunity to do something he's really always wanted to do. None of us wanted to stand in his way of something he wanted to do."

Hall will stay at Mercer as a social studies teacher and will continue to coach the volleyball team, which he and wife Stefanie began coaching this season.

Hall compiled a 60-57 record in four seasons at Mercer, leading the Scotties to the 2000 Sweet Sixteen in his first season and winning consecutive 46th District titles in his last two years.

"I've fulfilled a dream: I got to coach in the state tournament. Now I get to coach in college, whether it's for one year or 20 years or whatever," he said. "I'm going into the season knowing this is my one shot."

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