Prep tenure worth TSSAA Hall bid for UTM women’s assistant Russell
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 12:00 pm
Longtime rural West Tennessee girls’ basketball coaching legend David Russell is among 12 people who will be inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame.
Russell, who built his legacy at Bradford and Gibson County High School, captured six state championships and won more than 950 games during his illustrious 35 years in the preps.
He took his teams to the state tournament an astounding 17 times.
“I’ve had a chance to look at that (Hall of Fame) list, and I’m humbled to be included on it,” Russell told The Messenger this morning. “It’s obviously a tremendous honor, but one that belongs just as much to the kids I coaches as it does to me. No coach can win without good players, and I’ve had so many over the years.
“I hope I’ve had some positive effect on them. I’m certainly blessed.”
Russell, currently an assistant coach to Kevin McMillan with the UT Martin women’s program, began his high school coaching career at Medina. He then spent 21 seasons at Bradford and 11 at Gibson County, winning the last of his state titles in his final game as the Lady Pioneers’ skipper.
He joined his pal McMillan on the UTM bench prior to the 2010-11 season.
“I have great memories of everywhere I’ve coached and I’ve worked with some good people and administrators,” Russell continued. “Medina, Bradford and Gibson County were all great basketball schools.
“And I enjoy what I’m doing here now at UTM. There’s not as much stress in an assistant’s role, but I’m still around the game I love and can have an input.”
Russell joins four other coaches, three officials, three administrators and one contributor in this year’s TSSAA Hall of Fame.
They will officially be inducted April 20 in ceremonies at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro.
Other class members from West Tennessee include longtime Bolivar administrator Fred Kessler and Sammy Fisher, who coached at several schools.
Also among this year’s inductees are: Johnny Grimes, administrator from Jasper; Dan Schlafer, administrator from Fairfield Glade; Wes Elrod, coach from Lebanon; Jack Harlow, coach from McMinnville; Sherry Hooks, coach from Kingsport; Dorris Armstrong, official from Nashville; Larry Hutchinson, official from Mountain City; Susan Williamson, official from Knoxville; and Mike and Karen Parker, contributors from Harrison.
The Hall of Fame luncheon will begin at 11 a.m. on April 20.
The luncheon is to not only honor the new inductees and their families, but to honor all past inductees into the TSSAA Hall of Fame.
Tickets will go on sale on March 4. They are $25 each There will be no ticket sales at the door.
Kessler was involved in education for over 30 years at Bolivar Central High School.
He began as a teacher and coach before moving into an administrative role as athletic director, assistant principal and then principal.
He was also a long-time basketball official and supervisor of officials. His father, Fred Kessler Sr., was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame as an official in 2001.
He served on the TSSAA Board of Control for 17 years and was the board vice president for 10 of those years.
Fisher coached for over 30 years in West Tennessee. He coached football, boys’ and girls’ basketball, and baseball.
In his 33 years as a basketball coach, he had a 66 percent winning percentage, and his teams competed in six TSSAA state tournaments. Published in The WCP 2.12.13
Prep tenure worth TSSAA Hall bid
for UTM women’s assistant Russell