Mt. Juliet High principal Mel Brown said late Friday afternoon an announcement concerning a new baseball coach will be made next week.
Sources have said an announcement was to be made Friday afternoon saying Mark Purvis would return to lead the Golden Bears, following a two-year absence from the dugout.
“Let’s move it up to next week,” Brown told The Democrat late Friday, neither confirming nor denying Purvis’ return. “Everything’s pretty much a go.
“We’re just not ready to pull the trigger until next week. All of that’s being worked out.”
Purvis, who could not be reached for comment, coached the Bears for 13 seasons, leading them to a 395-139 record, a state runner-up appearance in 2009, six state tournament appearances [including five in a row to wrap up his first tenure], four straight Region 5-AAA and seven consecutive District 9-AAA championships to end his earlier tour of duty.
Citing burnout, Purvis stepped down two years ago but has remained on the MJHS faculty as a geography teacher.
He would replace Jim Carter, who extended Mt. Juliet’s run to eight straight district flags and five region pennants in a row before the Golden Bears, who finished in first place during the 9-AAA regular season, were ousted in the districts two months ago. Carter, who took the position at Class A power Goodpasture, coached Mt. Juliet to a 51-20-2 record, including 25-8-2 this past spring.
But Purvis is the standard bearer for MJHS coaches as the winningest in history. His last team went 38-6, the school record for victories.
Purvis played second base for Jerry Flatt at Mt. Juliet before graduating in 1989. He became a four-year starter at the position for legendary coach Woody Hunt at Cumberland, which finished third in the NAIA World Series his senior season in 1993, then the highest finish for a Bulldog team.
He assisted Hunt for three seasons, including the 1995 NAIA runner-up team, and helped Gary McFarlin for three more at Mt. Juliet before taking over the Bears.
Purvis has sent some 70 players to the collegiate ranks, including seven to Vanderbilt during the Tim Corbin era. One of those, Kyle Smith, just finished his sophomore season with the national-champion Commodores. Another, Taylor Hill, recently made his major-league debut with the Washington Nationals and is expected to pitch in the Triple-A All-Star game next Wednesday.
Like Hunt did on the collegiate level with Ernest L. Stockton Field, Purvis built one of the finest high school baseball facilities around. Unlike his mentor, Purvis did it a second time when the school moved to its Curd Road campus.
His experience in grooming baseball fields has been put to use the last two years as he’s been in charge of maintaining Mt. Juliet’s football game and practice fields.