SPORTS>>Old Bear is taking over SH softball
Leader sports editor
Sylvan Hills’ fastpitch program will be under new tutelage for the upcoming season. Former Jacksonville assistant softball and head volleyball coach Phil Bradley will take over for the Lady Bears softball team. Bradley graduated from Sylvan Hills and began his coaching career there in 1999, where he was an assistant coach on the SHHS state softball championship team.
“It really is a dream job for me,” Bradley said. “I graduated from there, I started coaching there. Now I have the chance to go back there and try and put that program on a path to some more championships. What better place to do that than the place you graduated from.”
Bradley moved to Jacksonville after one year at Sylvan Hills, where he became an assistant coach in volleyball, basketball and softball. In 2001 he took the head volleyball coaching position, where he led the Lady Red Devils to state tournament appearances all five seasons as head coach. He also started up the softball program in November while head coach Tanya Ganey was still working with her basketball team.
Ganey and Bradley won two outright conference championships, shared another, finished as runners up twice and advanced to the state semifinals the last two seasons.
“We did some good things that I’m very proud of,” Bradley said. “We accomplished a lot, we had some good players that were willing to work hard. Hopefully I can go over to Sylvan Hills and take it a step further.”
Bradley doesn’t have a complete idea of what he’ll have at SHHS, but he did play the lady Bears twice this past season, and knows there are some things to work with.
“I don’t know if we’ll have big hoss on the mound that just dominates, but we’ll have some decent throwers,” Bradley said. “There’s potential in that lineup too.”
Several other late changes have taken place in local coaching staffs. Beebe boys basketball coach Chris Ellis stepped away from coaching to accept an administrative position in the Beebe school district. Beebe athletic director Jerry Jordan could not be reached for comment on the current search for Ellis’ replacement.
Jacksonville hired a former Red Devil as an assistant football and baseball coach. Jeremiah Clennon will join his alma matre’s staff as the new assistant baseball coach, and will also assist with ninth-grade football.
Jacksonville head baseball coach Larry Burrows, who was an assistant when Clennon played for JHS, is excited about Clennon’s arrival.
“He’s a high-character guy,” Burrow said. “I remember how hard he played and how hard he worked when he was here. He’s knowledgeable about the game and he’s going to help a ton.”