Forrest welcomes new coach
"I always wanted to coach at a Class A school," said Wes Hobbs, recently hired to replace Davy McClaran as the Forrest boys basketball coach. "I feel like at a Class A school, coaches can have a lot of impact on the outcome of games. The teams are closer together in ability and I know the district I am coming into is a battle every night and I think that is fun and I think you can have a lot of influence on how things turn out."
In May, McClaran resigned after 17 years of coaching the Rockets to accept the Forrest High School vice principal position.
"It was kind of crazy how it all fell into place and I taught math like coach Mac and it just worked out perfect," said Hobbs. "It seemed like it was just meant to be."
A 2001 Richland High School graduate and four-year basketball varsity athlete, Hobbs earned his math degree at MTSU and after graduating, had a short coaching stint at Ravenwood, guiding the freshman basketball team.
Hobbs got married and moved to Knoxville where his wife was studying for a veterinarian degree at UT and while in East Tennessee, Hobbs coached at the newly opened Hardin Valley Academy for three years.
"That was fun," said Hobbs. "It was brand new the year we moved up there, so we kind of got to start that program and I worked a lot with the younger kids there. Varsity wise, we started out with no senior class, but had some success in the freshmen and JV ranks and I think their teams down the road will see that work and see that improvement."
The Hobbs' name is a familiar one in the Middle Tennessee coaching ranks as sister Ashley assists Jeremy Jean in Chapel Hill with the Forrest Lady Rockets and mom Sally has been the right hand of Cornersville Middle School coach Joy McMasters for several years.
Wes Hobbs talked about the inspiration he received from his mother's battle and triumph over breast cancer a few years back.
"That was a very tough time," said Hobbs. "She was always the one who held us together and when she got sick, it was a shock to all of us. The thing about her though, was she always had such a great attitude. If anything today, she loves life and she takes every day as if it means everything to her. You can see that in her teaching, coaching and the way she lives her life. Her going through that has helped our family do the same. We don't take anything for granted and do things one hundred percent all the time."
The Tennessee Scholastic Sports Association (TSSAA) honored Wes Hobbs' father Wayne Hobbs, longtime coach, principal and Athletic Director at Richland High School for 25 years for his contributions during his storied career with an induction to the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 2007.
"I guess I always knew what I wanted to do, and that was coach," said the new Forrest coach.
Along with his family, Hobbs credits his former coach at Richland with influencing him to become a coach.
"Another big influence goes back to my coach Darryl Long at Richland," said Hobbs. "I really liked the way he did things. He had great discipline and I feel like he always got the most out of our team. We learned to play hard and do things the right way, on and off the court and that is a big draw for me. Not only do you get to influence players on the court, but I hope I can make a positive influence for them off the court."
The Rockets are coming off a season of success and some disappointment, as they put up an impressive 24-7 overall record, including a league leading 12-2 District 9A mark.
As is always the case in 9A, the second season is not always an indicator of the first.
The Rockets entered the district tournament at Huntland as the favorites, but were beaten by the host Hornets in the second round and ended up in third place.
A loss one game later at McEwen in the Region 5A Tournament ended Forrest's season and McClaran's coaching career.
Hobbs is well aware of the success of the past and hopes to continue the same tough hardnosed defensive style McClaran coached squads were known for.
"I want to keep that going," said Hobbs. "One of the things I talked to coach Mac about that I like was that he never shied away from the difficult schedule. If you look at coach Mac's teams they always seemed to peak around tournament time and that is what we want to do."