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MJCA searches for new football coach

Andy Reed areed@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:57 PM

Mt. Juliet Christian’s basketball season ended last week. But this is not the time for coach Paul Christensen to kick back and relax for the spring.

MJCA’s athletic director has a new football coach to locate and hire.

Citing family reasons, Jake Roberts resigned as Saints’ coach last week to take an assistant’s position at Karns in suburban Knoxville, which is closer to his wife’s hometown.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in a week’s time,” Christensen said Tuesday night. “We’re putting a list together… I’ve been flooded with resumes.”

Christensen said he’s received in the “ballpark” of 25 resumes, of which five or six appear to meet his criteria.

“The main thing we’re looking for is stability,” Christensen said. “We’ve got to be fair to our kids.

“We’re not looking to hire someone for this to be a steppingstone to the next job. We want somebody who cares about the kids. We want a great coach, too. But we want someone who has a love for our school, a love for our kids.”

The next head coach will be the fifth since the football program was established in 2001.

“It’s not abnormal, but it’s not desirable,” Christensen said of the turnover. The boys’ basketball coach/AD has been at MJCA since 1998.

Roberts, who served as an assistant at Cumberland and Lebanon High before coming to MJCA, posted a 5-15 in two seasons, including 3-7 last fall. The Saints have never won more than four games in a season.

But Christensen said he was not being critical of Roberts, whose father-in-law died in December.

“This is a family decision,” Christensen said. “This is not us being disgruntled with Jake or Jake being disgruntled with MJCA.

“Jake told the kids, when his family needed him, they would come first, and we respect him for that. He loves the school, he loves the kids, but not above his family.”

Christensen would like to have a new coach in place by spring practice in May, but does not have a hard deadline.

“We want to have the coach God wants at MJCA,” Christensen said. “We don’t want to rush it. It might be tomorrow, but it may not be by spring practice.

“We have capable assistant coaches in place for spring practice. We have every intention of having in coach by spring practice, but that does not mean we’ll have one by spring practice, but that’s our goal for sure.”

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