A year ago, I tuned into a Franklin radio station on my Android phone to listen to the stream of Wilson Central’s sectional game at Brentwood while I was at Watertown.
During the pregame show, the announcers were talking about the Brentwood girls’ win over Mt. Juliet two nights earlier. A close game in the first half turned into a third-quarter blowout when a Lady Bruin bagged four three-pointers over the Lady Bears’ 2-3 zone.
Mt. Juliet coach Chris Fryer’s hands were tied because forward Ronjanae DeGray had torn her ACL during the Region 5-AAA final three nights earlier and was unavailable. She was one of the Lady Bears’ top scorers and rebounders, if not the leader in those categories. Without her, he didn’t feel comfortable playing a man-to-man defense.
Apparently the announcer was unaware of those circumstances when he said, without mentioning names, Brentwood coach Ronnie Seigenthaler outcoached Fryer.
My jaw dropped. I had never heard anyone say [and haven’t since] Fryer was outcoached in some 20 years in the business. If this had been a call-in show, I would have been tempted to phone in.
Seigenthaler’s coaching resume speaks for itself. He’s kept the Lady Bruins consistently in contention for state tournament berths. He’s the only coach to have beaten Fryer in sectional play [twice]. He’s coached Brentwood’s track program to nine state championships.
But if Seigenthaler had lost his top scorer and rebounder in the previous game, he would have been outcoached too.
I understand the announcer was playing to his Brentwood-based audience, and Seigenthaler and the Lady Bruins deserved all the credit they received. But it wasn’t necessary to slam the other side unnecessarily and out of ignorance.
I wonder if that announcer was paying attention to the state tournament on Friday. Facing a Blackman team ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today armed with superior quickness and size in the backcourt and size up front which could almost match Mt. Juliet’s, Fryer’s second-quarter challenge to his team to toughen up was heard on the other side of the court on press row.
And the Lady Bears responded, reeling off the final eight points of the first half to lead No. 1 at halftime.
Never mind that Blackman regained the lead in the third quarter. The Lady Blaze couldn’t shake off the Lady Bears until the final moments began ticking away in a nine-point decision.
After the game, Mt. Juliet News sports editor George Page was reeling off some statistics. It turned out Fryer won his 450th game in the Lady Bears’ sectional win over Franklin. Add the 1-1 showing in this week’s state tournament, he has a record of 451-84.
Seemingly without anyone knowing, earlier this season he passed his predecessor Tommy Martin’s 437 victories to become the career wins leader of what has become a storied program.
“We’ve been blessed,” Fryer said. “We’ve had great kids to coach. It’s a lot of work, a lot of commitment. But I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a blessing.
“Hope we’re making a difference. It’s why I do this.”
And anyone who makes a positive difference is not being outcoached.