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Saturday Morning Quarterback
Oct 28, 2012 12:00 am
Wilson Central's bus driver/coach
When I arrived at Rockwood 51 weeks ago for Watertown's football playoff game, I was surprised by one face I saw.
Wilson Central coach Brad Dedman was hanging around outside the Purple Tigers' locker room. His Wildcats had ended their season a week earlier at undefeated Mt. Juliet. He had no known ties to Watertown, so why was he here?
Turned out, he had a CDL license to drive a school bus. And since the Tigers left Watertown around lunch time and the regular bus drivers were unavailable because they had their afternoon routes to run, Dedman was tabbed to take the team.
Fast forward a year and we're on the eve of another playoff. We're just finding out this morning who is playing where. One thing for sure, if Watertown coach Gavin Webster needs a bus driver next week, he'll need a new one.
Dedman's journey to take his own team to the postseason was considerably longer and more laborious than two hours to the east and just over the Cumberland Plateau.
In fact, his journey to take his team anywhere took longer than anywhere one can travel on a bus in Tennessee. A Lebanon High lineman, he caught the coaching bug as a way to stay in the game since his own playing ability wasn't going to cut it.
He began on the bottom rung on Ron Marshall's Lebanon staff. When Wilson Central opened in 2001, he followed Blue Devil defensive coordinator Richard Anderson to Gladeville.
Dedman gradually rose up the ladder, even leaving Central for a time for a position at LaVergne before returning. He saw the Wildcats lose their first 24 games before tasting victory. He's also been there for 10-win playoff seasons, toiling away and learning the nuances of defensive football as the spotlight avoided the redhead. If his playing position of offensive lineman is one of anonymity [except when called for holding], at least he was used to not being noticed by the public.
But his peers and superiors were paying attention.
Eventually, he reached the level of defensive coordinator and moved up to head coach the following year.
Unfortunately, the Wildcats were on a downtick which coincided with the tanking of the economy. After two years of putting the pieces together and watching them ferment, the team jelled this year faster than the economic index.
Thursday's loss to Mt. Juliet likely put Central on the road next week in the playoffs. but not to worry. With Dedman and defensive line coach Jeff Majors [also on the staff since Day 1 who actually drives multiple routes every day] behind the wheel, the Wildcats are sure to reach their destination safely next Friday.
Actually, Dedman and the Wildcats have already come a long way - on the field.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org