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Elrod named to TSSAA Hall of Fame
Feb 12, 2013 4:00 pm
Longtime football coach worked at four schools in Wilson County
By Andy Reed
Longtime Lebanon resident Wes Elrod will be one of 12 new members inducted into the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Hall of Fame this spring, it was announced Monday.
Elrod has spent nearly half a century coaching football, mostly on the high school level. In the past two decades, he has served assistant stints at Mt. Juliet, Wilson Central and, most recently, Lebanon around a couple of terms at Cumberland University.
But while he has lived in Lebanon 37 years, Elrod made his name in Nashville, posting a 173-81-2 record at Donelson, North, Maplewood and McGavock. He was the winningest public-school coach in Metro at the time of his 1992 retirement.
"When you start coaching, you don't think about it a lot until it happens, and when it happened, I was surprised," Elrod, 71, said of his upcoming induction. "It's like my daddy said, find a job you like, you'll never work a day in your life.
"Coaching high school football is a great job... It feels like for the last 47 years, I've been able to go out in the yard and play with my friends."
Elrod played for Gerald Johnson at Antioch before completing his college work at UT-Martin.
During his head coaching career, he coached five players who went on to play in the NFL.
"In the luck of the draw, I had some pretty good cards sent my way," said Elrod, whose 1975 Maplewood team, featuring future Alabama and NFL star E.J. Junior and Vanderbilt Commodore-to-be Preston Brown, finished second in the TSSAA playoffs. "You don't develop people like that, they walk in the door."
Since his retirement from teaching, he has served as an assistant at Stratford, Hunters Lane, all three Class AAA Wilson County schools and Cumberland.
"After I quit being a head coach and started to help [other coaches and teams], I really enjoyed that," Elrod said. "It was more pure coaching."
One of his Metro coaching rivals became one of his friends and partners in retirement. Herschel Moore hired Elrod to coach the offensive line at Cumberland. Elrod runs the website JetSweep.com in which he teaches the finer point of the wing-T offense, which he learned from Moore and passed on Dewayne Alexander at Wilson Central. Alexander modified the system and brought it to Cumberland, where he hired Elrod as an offensive assistant.
"Herschel's one of the smartest X and O guys around," said Elrod, calling Moore and Johnson his two primary mentors. Johnson taught Elrod how to deal with people.
"The kids will never remember everything you teach, but they'll always remember the way you made them feel," Elrod, a father of three and grandfather of eight, recounted Johnson saying. "You remember the guys who made you think they were part of something special.'
Elrod and the 11 other inductees will be honored April 20 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro.
"It's always nice to be remembered," Elrod said. "I'm looking forward to it."