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Wood, Price resign WHS coaching positions

Andy Reed and Jared Felkins • May 18, 2018 at 4:57 PM

Watertown baseball coach E.J. Wood and girls’ basketball coach Lane Price have resigned their coaching positions, it was announced Friday.

Price served eight seasons after a stint as an assistant under Chris Fryer at Mt. Juliet. He leaves the Tigerettes 10 wins short of Ryan Vanatta’s school record 138. Price’s 128-113 mark makes him the first coach to leave with a winning record since Clark Turney’s 44-30 four-year run ended in 1950.

Price, who could not be reached for comment Friday, took over for principal Jeff Luttrell in 2010 and reeled off five winning seasons in his first six years, including three straight of at least 20 triumphs from 2013-14 to ’15-16, including the District 8-A tournament championship in ’14-15, which was his best season at 21-9.

He also coached the middle school program up until last season, thus developing his own high school talent.

Watertown went 14-16 in ’16-17, its final season in Class A, but reached the Region 4-A semifinals. The Tigerettes fell to 5-24 last winter, their first in District 8-AA, home of the two-time Class AA state champion Upperman Lady Bees.

Price’s oldest son Seth holds school and county records in football and basketball and is currently playing college baseball for Lindsey Wilson. His next oldest, Heath, is a rising senior who plays the same sports as his brother and already has several football offers. His wife, Kayla, is principal at Watertown Middle School.

Lane Price, a South Carolina native, played high school ball for current Marshall University coach Dan D’Antoni, brother of Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. Wood, who will be 36 years old next week, said he submitted his resignation nearly two weeks ago. He will move to work as a science instructor in Wilson County Schools’ Tennessee Virtual Online School at the central office in Lebanon where he lives. 

Wood, who was also a biology teacher at Watertown, said there is a new digital aspect to the science curriculum that will be implemented for the fall, and he plans to help in the setup process during the summer. 

“There’s a wide-open door in that field. I just felt like this was the right time,” Wood said. “Family-wise, I think it’s kind of a change of pace. My goal has always been to be involved in a team at a collegiate level. That may not happen for several years, but it may be an option for me down the road.

“It’s just a good time for a change of pace.”

Wood started as Watertown’s junior high baseball coach when he was hired there in 2007 at age 24. Two years later, he was promoted to head coach of the high school squad and coached the Purple Tigers to a couple of Region 4-A appearances. 

“I appreciate Mr. Luttrell and the opportunity he gave me nine years ago,” Wood said. “I feel like our team has made leaps and bounds. We made the leap into Class AA. I feel like the program is poised, whether I am there or not, to do well against that better competition. I’ve been very proud of my kids. That’s for sure. I’m going to miss them. I have a lot of good memories in Watertown and a lot of good friends.”

“I think it was God’s providence that I had a biology degree and a position was open in baseball. I was able to teach PE, as well, and I coached football for two years when I first came on at Watertown.”

During his tenure as head coach with Watertown, Wood compiled an overall 153-125 record. The Purple Tigers went 7-20 in their first season in District 8-AA this spring. 

Wood graduated and played football for the former Lambuth University in Jackson. He worked as a teacher with a Youth Villages campus school in Memphis and for the Memphis Redbirds minor-league baseball team before taking the job at Watertown. 

Some of the influences he listed during his time at Watertown included his wife Grace, Cumberland University head coach Woody Hunt; Luttrell; his father, Gwin Wood, who is a retired teacher and coach at South Fulton High School; Butch Chaffin at Cookeville High School and Mac Petty at Gordonsville High. 

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