John Wild began his coaching career as a junior-high and varsity assistant basketball coach at Friendship Christian.
More than 20 years after leaving FCS, Wild is returning to Wilson County as Bud Brandon’s successor with Wilson Central’s girls’ basketball program.
News of Wild’s hire came through online media reports early Wednesday evening before Central officials made an official announcement.
“We’re going to make an official school statement in the morning,” said WCHS athletic director Chip Bevis, who said he was waiting for the hiring to clear the central office, which it now has. “We’re not going to deny that.
“We haven’t told the girls. We had other things going on which prevented it. He’s going to come in [Thursday] and meet the young ladies. I’ll try to tell them first thing in the morning.”
Since leaving Friendship in 1992, Wild has become one of only three coaches in Tennessee high school basketball to win state championships in both boys and girls – Moore County’s boys in 1999, Bradford’s girls in 2000 and Riverdale’s girls in 2012. He was also part of a Riverdale title team on Hilary Hodges’ staff in 2010. Both Lady Warrior teams beat Mt. Juliet in the first round of the state.
Blackman’s Barry Wortman joined Wild on that exclusive list in March when he led the Blaze to the boys’ title. He coached Hickman County’s girls to a championship in 1997. His son, Austin, played guard for Mt. Juliet Christian and his uncle, Jeff, was the last basketball coach at the Castle Heights Military Academy when it closed in 1986 before embarking on a long career as a teacher in the Lebanon Special Schools District.
Wild, 48, left Riverdale after the ’12 title [replaced there by former Watertown assistant Cory Barrett, who promptly led the Murfreesboro team to another championship] to join another former Friendship coach, Greg Brown, on the women’s staff of their Lipscomb University alma mater for the past two seasons. It was his second college job, having spent a season on the Evansville staff nearly a decade ago.
Wild left Friendship to take the boys’ head coaching job at Harpeth. He also coached the girls at Lawrence County and Franklin County.
He will become the second girls coach in Central’s history. Brandon coached the Lady Wildcats to just over 300 wins, five state tournaments and two championships [in 2006 and ‘08] in 13 seasons before stepping down last month to launch an election campaign for Wilson County circuit court clerk.