Craig Harris/Macon County Times Adam Bandy spoke to parents and fans after he was announced as the Macon County High boys head basketball coach at the beginning of the school’s basketball awards banquet on Monday evening.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Adam Bandy spoke to parents and fans after he was announced as the Macon County High boys head basketball coach at the beginning of the school’s basketball awards banquet on Monday evening.

Adam Bandy was loyal to the Macon County High boys basketball program as he waited his turn.

The time came on Monday afternoon as the long-time assistant was selected as the program's next head coach.

"It's huge," Bandy said. "It's something I've wanted … since I was probably a sophomore or junior in high school, I decided I wanted to be a coach and teach school. I wanted to come and give back to the community I was in."

The 31-year-old succeeds Jason Welch, who resigned on April 18 in order to accept the head-coaching position at Tullahoma High School.

"Coach Welch gave me the opportunity," Bandy said. "He's helped me a ton. I've been with him for so long. He's introduced me to so many new coaches. It has helped to create who I am as my own coach. He's always given me that freedom. He didn't expect me to do everything the exact way he did. He gave me freedom. He's influenced me a ton, and he's also helped me to grow into who I am."

Welch led the program for 15 seasons. Bandy was a 2005 graduate of Macon County High, having played for Darian Brown for three seasons before playing one season for Welch.

Then, while he was a student at Cumberland University, Bandy served as a volunteer assistant coach under Welch and continued in that role once he was hired as a teacher at Macon County High. He has been an assistant coach with the program for 13 years and has also served as an assistant coach at Macon County Junior High for 10 seasons.

"It'll be great knowing the kids, especially working with them through junior high," Bandy said. "They have a level of expectation, knowing what I expect as well. It should be a pretty smooth transition."

The school had 17 applicants and interviewed six individuals.

"Coach Bandy was an easy decision," Macon County High Principal B.J. West said. "We had some good interviews, but everything pointed to him as the obvious choice to lead this program moving forward. Coach is a high-character guy. He has a huge heart for this school, these students and this community. He's devoted many years to Macon County High School already and is firmly committed to Tiger basketball for the long haul. We're extremely proud and excited for him. There is no question Coach Bandy is going to devote everything he has to this program and to our student-athletes."

Bandy has been preparing to become a head coach.

"Four or five or maybe six years ago, I was where I felt like I was ready to go on and be a head coach," Bandy said. "Jason helped me with that. He would tell me, 'Hey, if you feel like you need to go somewhere else, don't let me hold you back.'

"We had always discussed that, but I wanted to stay here and stay in the program."

Welch led the program to 269 wins and 12 consecutive winnings seasons, reaching the regional tournament 11 times.

The Tigers posted an 11-19 record in 2018-19, placing fifth in District 8-AA. The program failed to reach the regional tournament for the second consecutive season, following 10 consecutive regional appearances.

"I just want to see the kids grow in every aspect, as far as academically, athletically, be better than they were every single day," Bandy said. "It's a process. Ultimately, (championships) aren't important. We need to understand what is important and compete in life."

Macon County lost five seniors to graduation - shooting guard Cameron Welch, point guard Kelton Ballou, forward Trent Cook, center Clay West and guard Noah Likens.

One starter returns for the Tigers - rising senior forward Lake Reid - and freshman guard Braydee Brooks and sophomore guard Connor Johnson played extensively.

"Players are going to dictate what we focus on," Bandy said of the program's style of play. "If you watch my team play, you shouldn't be able to tell whether I am up 20 or down 20. A competitive level is what I expect."

Bandy will quickly attempt to get the team ready to participate in its summer camps, which will take place from late May through mid-June.

"I am super excited," Bandy said. "It's been surreal since 3:30 this (Monday) afternoon. I've had people blowing my phone up.

"The next two weeks, I need to have tryouts. I need to meet with the junior-high kids. I want to have a parent meeting. Going through camps, we'll have 15 days (to compete) in the summer. After that, after the dead period, we'll start offseason conditioning … but I'll be trying to get everything in order over the next two weeks."