Marty Maxfield

Marty Maxfield

Macon County Junior High School didn't have to search far to fill the vacancy for its boys basketball coach.

In fact, the administration simply had to look in its own gymnasium.

Marty Maxfield was recently hired as the Tigers' head coach following the resignation of long-time head coach Wes Clayborne.

"I'm very excited," Maxfield said. "I love the school. It's a great faculty. It's great students. It's a great community. Macon County has been good to my family. I'm thankful to Mr. (Tony) Boles (the Macon County director of schools) for giving me a job, and I'm thankful for Mr. (Jamie) Kelley (the Macon County Junior High principal) as well.

"I thank the Lord for the opportunity. It's a true blessing to lead these guys."

Clayborne resigned after leading the program for 16 seasons, winning the James C. Haile State Tournament in 2014 and 2015 and finishing as the runner-up in 2018.

The 40-year-old Maxfield will be entering his third season as a physical education teacher at Macon County Junior. He was a 1996 Celina High School graduate and a part of Volunteer State Community College's Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association/Region VII Tournament runner-up squad during the 2001-02 season.

He has coached at five schools, beginning with a three-year stint under Rob Edwards at Clay County High and followed by one year as Greg Bibb's assistant coach at Pickett County High.

Then, Maxfield coached at Sunbright - a school consisting of Kindergarten through 12th-graders in East Tennessee - for seven years. He was the head junior high coach for the first three of those seasons and the high school head coach for the final six of those years.

His first junior-high squad won a state title and then finished as the state runner-up two years later. His high-school program reached the regional tournament four times in his six seasons at the helm, winning the 2012-13 district title. It was the first time the program had won a district championship in 53 years.

"That has helped greatly," Maxfield said of coaching at the different schools. "I've gotten to see different coaching philosophies. I was with Coach Edwards for three years, and I learned a lot in those three years. Until you take over yourself (as head coach), you don't know what it's like, all the

fundraising and behind-the-scenes stuff that you don't have to deal with (as an assistant coach). And it's learning how to win. Rob Edwards … Greg Bibb … I got to be good friends with Jody Wright at Fulton (High School, a three-time state champion and six-time state runner-up who has won more than 700 games in his career). I got to sit in on a lot of his practices and learn a lot.

"I learned a lot from all of them, but what I took is the defensive mentality of all of them."

Maxfield - who coached the junior-high programs at Hilham Elementary School and Allons Elementary School for one season - hasn't coached over the past three seasons.

"When you're away from it, there's certain aspects you miss," Maxfield said. "I love the game. I love coaching. I love coaching young men and watching them grow as a ballplayer but also as an individual person.

"You recharge your batteries and get a fresh start at it. This is something I've been doing a long time."

Maxfield emphasizes defense and would prefer to play an up-tempo style.

"A lot of it is dictated by the personnel we have," Maxfield said. "I like to adapt to what we've got. I love defense. I want to be the best defensive team on the floor every night. I like to get up and down and play at a fast pace. I'd like to (full-court) press if we can. I'm a defensive coach, but I adapt to the personnel we've got and who we're playing."

Adam Bandy - who was recently promoted from assistant coach to the Macon County High boys basketball head-coaching position - was the Macon County Junior High program's assistant for 10 years, but Bandy won't remain with the program due to his new responsibilities at MCHS.

Maxfield will have two assistant coaches, Joey Wilkerson and Gary Carter. Wilkerson - who is also a teacher at Macon County Junior High - was the former head coach of the program. Carter was the long-time head coach of the Macon County High School girls and boys basketball programs, and he served as Mike Prock's assistant coach for the Macon County Junior High girls basketball team last season.

"Joey is very knowledgeable, and he's excited," Maxfield said. "Gary Carter is a legend in his own right.

"They are great coaches and great men. They'll be good role models for these kids to be around."

Macon County Junior High had a 3-12 record last season. Among the most experienced of the returning players are starting forward Dalton Hudson and reserve forward Parker Maddox.

"You are getting them ready for high school," Maxfield said. "It's a different speed. It's a different mindset. You have to simplify more and keep it fun."

Maxfield got his first glimpse of the players last week, conducting tryouts and two practices.

"I'm very pleased and impressed with the effort," Maxfield said. "You can tell they have a desire to be here and a hunger to learn. It's going to be a good team to coach."

The Tigers will attend summer camps at Westmoreland on June 7 and another at Gordonsville on June 14.