Jon Massey began working on Ooltewah's softball schedule and the Lady Owls' 2013-14 coaching staff Thursday afternoon just hours after he accepted an offer to become the Lady Owls' coach.
He's a former Ooltewah baseball coach who played three sports at the school.
"I'm excited. I'm ready to start working on next year's schedule, and it's not even June yet," Massey said. "I have missed the camaraderie with the kids and the coaches, and I felt this was something I really wanted to do. It's juggling two sports again, but I have really missed it."
Massey was Ooltewah's baseball coach for three years but also was helping coach football and trying to fulfill a parental role at home.
"I guess five or six years ago I just needed a break," he said. "I had spent four years in baseball [as an assistant] with Joe Wingate and then three as the head coach. I was also doing football and had younger kids."
Massey went to the University of Tennessee on a baseball scholarship. After two years in Knoxville he transferred to and earned his degree at Birmingham-Southern.
"They're different sports but the dynamics are the same," he said of baseball and softball. "A lot of it is organization and fundamentals. The urge to win and the urge to coach is still there. I want to do it and I think we can be successful."
The Ooltewah administration is sold on Massey.
"We are very fortunate to have a person of Jon's caliber here on staff. He played here when I was helping Gene Lively [with baseball]," Ooltewah athletic director and assistant principal Jim Jarvis said. "With his background in baseball and h is work ethic, he'll be fine.
"He helped Joe build a very successful baseball program. In a very short time they had Ooltewah's baseball program as one of the best in the state."
Massey said former Lee University infielder Heidi Moses would continue as one of the assistants and that former Lady Owls catcher Bri Shoemake, who is finishing up at Carson-Newman, would be added to the staff. Shoemake will be student teaching next fall at Ooltewah.
"They'll help in those [fielding] areas, but both know a lot about hitting," Massey said.
He has begun looking for a pitching coach.
"Obviously pitching is a big part of the game, and a good pitching coach will be a necessity," he said. "We have some outstanding pitching prospects in the program or coming into the program, and we want to be able to give them all they help we can."
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...