Though former Watertown baseball coach E.J. Wood is no longer coaching the Purple Tigers, he is back in baseball.
Wood has been hired as head junior-varsity coach by Cumberland coach Woody Hunt.
His day job remains with Wilson County Schools as county-wide science instructor for the Tennessee Virtual Online School. But Wood, 36, will coach the Phoenix JV during the fall.
“I knew he was available,” Hunt said. “He will be very good with people, a good teacher of the game.
“I’ve known him for a while. We go to church together. I can trust him. He has everything I was looking for.”
In addition to coaching the JV team, Wood has already begun some recruiting, at least on an area basis.
“I was able to use contacts I had from coaching high school to get on campus,” said Wood, who spent 10 seasons as the Purple Tigers’ coach, going 153-125, after coaching the Watertown Junior High team the two previous years. “Coach Hunt definitely recruits nationally. I just jumped in and called schools around here, searching for players who are looking for a place to play.
“The farthest I’ve gone is Crossville.”
Hunt dismissed long-time assistants Kevin Hite and Chris Schrock in May as he made adjustments to his recruiting philosophy. He hired former Bulldog pitcher Robert Clayton, who had been working for former CU All-American shortstop Randy Stegall at Embry-Riddle. Brady North has been promoted from graduate assistant to fulltime coach.
North recently returned to campus after spending the summer coaching in the Cape Cod League in Massachusetts. Clayton will hit the road later this month for junior-varsity showcases around the country, Hunt said.
Wood played against Cumberland as a football and baseball player for Lambuth in the early 2000s. He said he was looking to get into college coaching when Hunt called.
“It’s hard to say no when Coach Hunt calls,” said Wood, whose Watertown principal, Jeff Luttrell, was a pitcher for Hunt in the early 1990s. “Getting a chance to work for a hall of fame coach, it’s hard to bypass that.”