In a bit of an unusual move, Oneida High School has released a list of finalists for its basketball head coaching vacancy.
Six candidates are among the finalists, most of them local candidates. Oneida Special School District Director of Schools Dr. Jeanny Hatfield said all six candidates will interview with a panel that has been selected to sort through the candidates. Those interviews will take place Friday, after which three finalists will be forwarded to Hatfield for the final selection.
Among the six finalists are former Oneida head coach Jacob King, former Scott High girls coach Chad Marcum, current Oneida Middle School head coach Shawn West, former Oneida player Jake Wright, Steven Jaco and Jerry Brown.
Jaco is a former head coach in Kentucky, while Brown is a former head coach in Grundy County, Tenn.
King succeeded Kevin Windle as the head coach at Oneida following a stint as an assistant coach at Scott High School in the mid 2000s. He was succeeded by Rusty Yaden, who was followed by Zach Smith. Marcum was most recently the head girls coach at Huntsville Middle School. Wright was a player on Oneida's last substate team, and is currently a graduate assistant coach at Bryan College in Cleveland, Tenn., after playing collegiately at Berry College in Georgia.
The list of panelists who are tasked with forwarding a three finalists include Oneida principal Kevin Byrd, athletics director Jimmy May, girls basketball coach Marv West, former college player Derek Keeton, Roane County athletics director Tony Clower, and former Oneida and University of Tennessee standout Brynae Laxton Miley.
Hatfield said the final decision on who will be hired will be hers.
"The panel's job is to provide the director of schools advice and input reflecting their specific areas of expertise in order to add multiple viewpoints to the hiring process," Hatfield said. "This panel will offer advice and will not make the final coaching decision for the district."
Hatfield said eight expectations have been identified for the next coach, including being a positive mentor, staying in constant contact with players with regards to behavior and academics, creating a positive basketball culture, emphasizing the importance of a tobacco- and drug-free atmosphere, maintaining high expectations on and off the court, establishing clear goals, supporting other Oneida High School athletics programs, and demanding good sportsmanship from players and coaches alike.
"Oneida Special School District will have positive mentors as coaches in all areas of athletics," Hatfield said. "OSSD has a long and proud tradition of hard work, sportsmanship and excellence in academics and athletics which must be built upon and carried on into the future."