Westview's Haskins joins McMillan's Skyhawk staff
Stephanie Sturgis - Press Sports Editor
"I had eight or 10 names in mind, but he automatically moved to the forefront. The things he brings to the table are tremendous," McMillan said of Haskins, his new assistant coach.
McMillan and the university announced officially on Wednes-day that Haskins will be joining the Skyhawks women's basketball staff as an assistant coach.
"I'm excited about the opportunity. (McMillan) threw it out there and the next thing I knew it was happening and now we're hitting the ground running," Haskins said.
Haskins spent the past five seasons coaching the Westview High School Chargers boys basketball team, but had previous collegiate coaching experience as an assistant with the Lambuth University women's basketball team from 1999-2001. During his time on the Lambuth bench, the Lady Eagles competed twice in the NAIA National Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 in the 2001 edition of the tourney.
Haskins' ties to Lambuth began earlier as a player on the Eagles' men's hoop team from 1997-99. He was a two-time NAIA All-American and led the nation in free-throw shooting percentage during the 1998-99 season.
The Lambuth graduate called his time as a coach at Westview "a great experience."
"It's a very unique situation when you leave a great experience and walk into another great experience," Haskins said. "Telling (Westview principal) Mr. (David) Byars was the hardest thing and telling my players was the second hardest thing. I loved working for him. He runs a top class program out there, including in the classrooms."
Byars was unavailable for comment at press time.
The two-time District 13-AA Coach of the Year spoke with his team over the weekend about his departure from Westview.
"The team took it pretty good. I look forward to going out there and watching them some this season," Haskins said of his now-former Chargers.
Haskins led the Chargers to top-three, regular-season finishes in all five seasons at the Westview helm and added trips to the regional tournament every season as well. His teams finished at .500 or better every season as he compiled an overall record of 92-59 at WHS.
"He's going to be a tremendous asset to our program. He's outgoing, energetic, hard working. He's recruited collegiately before in the area and his head coaching background will help us on the floor," McMillan said. "This will make the transition very easy. I knew him and he knew me."
The new Skyhawk head coach has been busy in his first 10 days at the UTM helm. McMillan will soon add a graduate assistant to his staff which now includes Haskins and Jessica Grayson, a holdover from the previous staff. The first-year coach is also busy working on finalizing his roster and schedule for the upcoming 2009-10 season.
"It's been a whirlwind and it's not letting up. We started out with a lot of momentum and excitement and it hasn't stopped. We've had lots of people coming by the office to show their support," McMillan said.
"It's always something most high school coaches look for. Then when the situation with Coach McMillan came through, I couldn't turn it down. An opportunity like this doesn't come along very often," Haskins said of accepting the UT Martin coaching job.