New age dawns on Cardinal Baseball
It has been more than 13 years since the shoes of the head baseball coach at Adamsville High School needed to be filled, but last Wednesday a new man stepped into them.
Rennard Woodmore, who has been the assistant baseball coach at Adamsville for the past six seasons, was named the new head coach after Steven Lambert resigned from the position just a few weeks ago.
“I am very proud that Coach Woodmore has been given the opportunity to lead the Cardinals as the next head coach,” Lambert said about his successor. “Over the last six years of working with Renard, he has constantly shown the ability to lead and effectively communicate with young people, and I have the utmost respect for him in his ability to teach skills and manage the game.”
Woodmore is a product of Trousdale County High School, a Class A school in Hartsville, Tenn., where he was a four-year letterman and played shortstop, outfield, and pitched on occasion. He moved to third base in college and played two seasons at Jackson State Community College before transferring to Lambuth University for his junior and senior seasons.
After graduating from Lambuth, Woodmore took a grad assistant coaching position at the university under their new head coach at the time, John Massey, who later pointed him toward Adamsville.
AHS Principal Greg Martin said that the school did not need to look too hard to find the right man for the job.
“He’s a class guy and a hard worker,” Martin said. “The job opened up and he deserved it.”
Martin said that Woodmore has a tremendous track record for getting results out of the players he coaches. On top of that, he said the new head coach conducts himself professionally and is very familiar with the players.
Not only did his hiring fill a void that had not existed at AHS since 1999, it also marked a monumental moment in the history of racial equality in McNairy County. By signing on to be the head baseball coach, Woodmore became the first-ever African-American head coach for any high school sport in the county.
“We’re getting to the point now where people shouldn’t see black, white, green, or purple,” said Woodmore. “Don’t get me wrong; I’m proud to be an African-American male, but I’m more proud to be the Adamsville Baseball coach. I want people to see me for me, or who I am and not what I am.”
The 30-year-old first-time head coach said he is grateful for everyone’s confidence in his ability to be successful as the new Cardinal skipper.
“I’d like to thank the administration. I’d like to thank Charlie Miskelly, Greg Martin, Coach Gray, Coach Lambert, and Ricky Coffman. All those people who have pushed me, supported me, and who believe in me,” said Woodmore. “Last but not least, I’d like to thank my parents for raising me and helping me be someone who doesn’t see color, who can survive or can strive and be myself in any type of environment.”
With support from the county and the foundations of his upbringing, Woodmore says his best attribute he brings to the Cardinals is his ability to motivate young men and run a disciplined program.
“My main asset as a coach is that I’m a motivator. I try to model hard work and determination, and I’m a disciplinarian,” the new coach said. “I think in order to get any program to the level it needs to be, there has to be a system or discipline set into effect...I want to bring hard work, excitement and dedication to this program.”
Despite his familiarity with the players and his natural ability to motivate, switching roles from easy-going assistant coach to hard-nosed head coach will be difficult.
“The biggest obstacle or challenge will be the guys understanding that I’m flipping roles,” he said. “It’s going to be different for me and different for them.”
Another difficulty the young coach may face is balancing his time between two sports because Woodmore is also the defensive coordinator for the Cardinal Football Team, but he says it’s an opportunity to make both teams better.
“It’s going to make both programs better,” Woodmore said. “We’re going to have the baseball guys in (the field house), and I want them to lift weights with the football team.”
He went as far to say that he would eventually like to see the basketball team lifting with the football players as well so that everybody can get on the same page.
“Here at a small school what I believe is that you have to share athletes,” he said. “If you play football and you’re good enough to play baseball and if you’re good enough to play basketball, I think you should play all three.”
Woodmore knows that challenges will present themselves and nothing comes easily, but he believes the Cardinals, with a solid core of experienced players returning, have a bright future.
“I’m not going to be one of these guys that say, ‘Hey, we’re going to the state tournament, or we’re going to win the district.’ My goal going into my first season is to put a product on the field that is fundamental, hard working, disciplined, hustles, and plays the game the right way,” Woodmore said. “I think if we, whoever my staff might be, can put together that type of product then the results will follow.”
It is apparent the new coach prides himself on molding young men to do things the right way.
“If I could say one thing that I’d want somebody to say about me,” Woodmore commented, “I’d want them to say that his team plays the game the right way.”
The only uncertainty now is who the new assistant coach will be.
“I won’t say that I want a guy like me, but I want a guy who is definitely, first and foremost, knowledgable about the game,” said Woodmore. “I want somebody who will come out and is willing to put in long hours and work and be dedicated. I also want a somebody who’s a guy that can build great relationships. I feel like, as a coach, relationships are the most important thing that you do.”