TSSAA honors McCarter, Wright

McCarter earned his stripes and now helps train others

By Steve Williams

Jerry McCarter, who was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame last week in Murfreesboro, began his career in sports officiating in 1968. He spent the first 32 years as a basketball official and now has been a supervisor in the Knox-South Association for 23 years, giving him a total of 55 years and counting.

“It’s amazing,” said McCarter of his induction into the Hall of Fame. “It’s something that I didn’t dream of, but it’s just a big honor. Let’s put it that way.”

Kenny Coulter, a longtime supervisor in the Knox-South Association who was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 1993, had the honor of putting the awards medal around Jerry’s neck.

Coulter said McCarter’s induction was very deserving. “He’s always been a perfect gentleman and does a good job as a supervisor, too. He has been an outstanding friend and very loyal.”

On the court, “Jerry was even tempered and always the same,” added Kenny.

Through the years, McCarter, who lives in Powell, officiated numerous district, region and sub-state tournament games. He also worked three state tournaments in 1981, 1985 and 1992.

In addition to his service with the TSSAA, McCarter enjoyed an 18-year stint with collegiate basketball. He officiated at the NAIA and JUCO levels, further strengthening his reputation within the basketball community.

His long career is a testament to both his love for basketball and his enduring commitment to the highest standards of officiating.

McCarter has seen a lot of changes in the game over the years, including TSSAA girls’ basketball switching to the 5-on-5, full-court format in 1980.

Most of the 3-on-3 half-court girls games, where teams had three offensive players on one half of the court and three defensive players on the other half, were played at the Blount and Sevier County schools.

In addition to Knoxville’s McCarter and Coach Wright, the 2024 Hall of Fame Class included: Bernard Childress, administrator from Murfreesboro; Phil Clark, coach from Bartlett; Glenn Falls, coach from Nashville; Joe Gaddis, coach from Oak Ridge; Steve Trussler, official from Manchester; and the late Chris Snoddy, contributor from Nashville.

Wright is not going anywhere, just getting ready for next year

By Steve Williams

Jody Wright’s high school basketball coaching career got off to a slow start. As a 23-year-old new coach, he won only two games in his first season (1984-85) at Horace Maynard High School in Maynardville and after that just 13 games in his first three years combined at Fulton.

Today, after 40 seasons, he has notched (unofficially) 870 victories and ranks in the Top 10 in the state.

Wright, 62, was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame on April 8. Former Fulton football coach Buck Coatney, a previous TSSAA Hall of Fame inductee, had the honor of putting the awards medal around Jody’s neck – a TSSAA tradition.

Wright said he felt “very honored” and went into the Hall of Fame with a distinguished 2024 class.

“I look back at my career and I have been so blessed to work with some fantastic assistant coaches alongside me,” he said. “And I have been so fortunate to coach some of the best kids in Knoxville and I mean that. Just fantastic young men, and they’ve made me look good through the years.”

With his Falcons coming off back-to-back state championships this season, Wright now has guided Fulton to five state titles and five state runner-up awards.

“Somebody,” pointed out Jody, “said to my daughter Lauren in the stands after we won the state championship that ‘I’ll bet he’ll just retire with the twins having won two titles in a row. I’ll bet he’ll retire.’ And she looked at him and said, ‘You don’t know him real well, do you.’

“So no, I’m not going anywhere. My fire still burns pretty hot. We’re celebrating the success of last year right now, but we’re getting ready for next year. So no, I’m not going anywhere.”

In addition to coaching, Wright has been an assistant principal and athletic director for years at FHS and a TSSAA Board of Control member since 2011.

Wright proudly noted too that he and his late father, Gene Wright, are the only dad-son inductees in Lincoln Memorial University’s Athletes Hall of Fame.