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It’s official: Purvis back in MJ dugout

Andy Reed areed@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Jul 15, 2014 at 9:46 PM

After hitting the reset button on his coaching career, Mark Purvis will have some upgrades as he returns to the Mt. Juliet dugout.

As was expected late last week, principal Mel Brown, himself a championship coach with three state baseball titles at McGavock, announced Purvis as the Golden Bears’ new coach Tuesday afternoon.

He replaces Jim Carter, who had replaced Purvis two years ago after Purvis stepped down after 13 seasons, 395 wins and six state tournament trips, citing burnout. Carter left Mt. Juliet earlier this summer to take the reigns at Class A power Goodpasture.

While Purvis, a former Mt. Juliet and Cumberland second baseman, will look to resume the style which made him the Golden Bears’ winningest coach, he said he plans to do more to embrace former players, such as his college coach, Woody Hunt, has done at CU.

“I missed those relationships with the former players, watching the kids get better and grow,” Purvis, 43, said Tuesday. “It was good for me just to take a step back and get re-energized.

“I missed it. Some of it you don’t. But I missed the competition and seeing the kids grow together.”

Purvis said he wants to enjoy the process more and celebrate the success more.

“I’ll probably adjust a few things,” he said. “I look back on it and sometimes you get caught up in winning a state championship – and that’s the ultimate goal. But I want to enjoy it a little more and one of my big goals is to recognize former players more.”

The closest the Bears have come to a championship is a 2-1 loss to the Farragut dynasty in the 2009 state final. Purvis finished his previous tenure with five straight trips to state. Sometimes lost in that is his first team which went to the round of eight in 2003.

“I want to recognize the 2003 team, some of the things Coach Hunt has done for his program,” Purvis said. “You strive to improve your program and then you don’t recognize those guys who made your program what it is like you should.

“I think it’s important to see a kid like Taylor Hill in the pros.”

Hill reached the major leagues with the Washington Nationals last month and will be on the International League all-star team for tonight’s Triple-A All-Star Game in Durham, N.C.

“He’s a great kid, great family,” Purvis said of Hill. “He’s got great talent, but he’s worked real hard to get where he’s at.”

In addition to Hill, Caleb Cotham is on the disabled list with the New York Yankees’ Double-A team in Trenton, N.J. Kyle Smith is celebrating a national championship with Vanderbilt and Matt Sedgwick is doing likewise with Cumberland. Ethan Gross was drafted last month by the Chicago White Sox.

“It’s a great summer for our former players,” Purvis said. 

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