Don Rhoton Headed To Coaches Hall Of Fame

Friday, January 4, 2013
Don Rhoton (Photo submitted)

Anyone and everyone who has been associated with baseball in the middle Tennessee area over the last several decades sooner or later hears the name "Don Rhoton." The name "Don Rhoton" is synonymous with the word "baseball" and on January 19, 2013 coach Rhoton will officially become a distinguished member of the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Coach Rhoton attended high school at Franklin County High School. He was the shortstop for the 1968 Franklin County High School State Championship Team. He attended college at Columbia State Community College, Memphis State University, Middle Tennessee State University and during his college days he played in the JUCO World Series in 1970, being elected to the All Tournament Team. He was the only coach in the history of that World Series to both coach and play for a team. That monumental milestone received national attention. He also had the opportunity to play professional baseball and was drafted by the Red Sox two times, once in 1969 and once in 1970, but decided to continue his education.

Rhoton's coaching accolades continue to be impressive as he has turned in world class performances and the teams he has coached over the years have done remarkably well. While coaching at Franklin County High School (1975-1986) he compiled a record of 243-97 and his teams came up with District Championships in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1983. His teams captured Regions Championships in 1977, 1980 and 1983. He was selected as District Coach of the Year in 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1983.

In the years 1976 and 1977 Rhoton coached Winchester America Legion baseball for Post 44 and compiled a record of 61-14 with two District Championships and two Regional Championships.

In 1988 Rhoton coached the "Shoetiques," a 16-year old team to a 65-16 record and a fourth place finish in the NABF World Series in Detroit, MI. In that series Rhoton had the pleasure of coaching his son, "Little Donald," who played shortstop.

From 1989 until 2006 Rhoton coached baseball at Motlow State Community College, compiling and impressive record of 669-268. During that time He led teams to seven Division Titles, two State and two Region Championships, a second place finish in the Junior Word Series (2000) in Grand Junction, CO. During his tenure at Motlow, Rhoton was voted Coach of the Year five times, State Coach of the Year three times and District Coach of the Year one time in 2000. While coaching at Motlow, Rhoton had the pleasure of witnessing 16 players going to the professional ranks, 114 players signing with four-year institutions, where four of those players eventually were voted Player of the Year. Eight of those players made All American.

In 2008 Rhoton coached at Webb School and led his team to the first round in the playoffs. Between 1993 and 2003 he served as Athletic Director for Motlow State Community College.

Rhoton and his wife Donna currently reside in Tullahoma and have three children, Angela, Donald and Justin, along with five grandchildren.