Forrest fires Nave as baseball coach; Joyce takes over for rest of season

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Bart Joyce (center) takes over the Rocket baseball program after Jimmy Nave was fired last week. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

Jimmy Nave's coaching stint as Forrest baseball coach lasted a little over seven months; he was fired last week.

"I respect all the time and effort coach Nave gave to this program, he gave a hundred percent and is a professional," said Forrest principal Davy McClaran. "I just felt for the betterment of the program we needed to make a change at this time."

Nave posted an 11-7 overall record and 5-3 in District 9-A play for the Rockets, who sat in a tie for second place in the league standings at press time.

New coach

Taking over for Nave is Bart Joyce, who had a stellar record as Forrest middle school baseball coach before stepping down at the end of last season.

"Coach Mac came to me with the position and asked me to help the program out," said Joyce "I had majority of these players in middle school baseball and I know they are a good group of kids and players, so the decision wasn't really a hard one to make."

Joyce guided the middle school squad to Mid-South conference titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

"I just look at it as a fresh start from here on," said Joyce. "These players know my mindset on practice and games and we are just moving forward with a positive attitude and going to make a run at a title."

One at a time

The Rockets have a serious shot at gaining some momentum in an attempt to capture the regular season crown as they play both Middle Tennessee Christian School and Huntland twice before the season ends on April 28.

Forrest had a home-and-home series versus the Cougars on Monday and Tuesday and play the Hornets at home on Saturday before travelling to Huntland on Monday.

"The game plan moving forward is one practice at a time and one game at a time," said Joyce. "Right now our focus today is on MTCS and then we will go from there."

Helping hands

Joyce has plenty of help on the bench as three former Rockets will add their experience in an attempt to right the Rockets ship as the post-season nears.

"As far as the head reigns goes, coach Andy Burkett and I are teaming up on that position and we have Seth Brothers as an assistant and we also have Brian Whitley as another man to help us in practice with a little more man power," said Joyce. "We have a good core of coaches going, so this should be fun."

"I think with all that experience there that is something that made the change doable at this time," said McClaran.

Future uncertain

Joyce, who recently welcomed a son to his family, is unsure about retaining the head coaching job next season.

"As far as whether I look at the position as interim or maybe wanting it in the future, I hadn't really even thought about it as either," said Joyce. "I just see it as coaching 28 good kids and players and helping them get better."

"As far as the future goes I'm game planning on getting a win over MTCS the next two nights."