KNOXVILLE — For more than two decades Jeremy Parrott has been a fixture in Cherokee High School’s boys basketball program.
But now, he’s moving on. He was tapped last week to take over as Bearden High School’s boys basketball coach.
“It was definitely a tough decision to leave there,” said Parrott, who graduated from Cherokee High School in 1989. “It’s always tough to leave a place after you’ve been there for so long. But this is exciting because Bearden High School has such a great basketball tradition.”
Following his high school career with the Chiefs and after college, Parrott returned home to Cherokee, where he’s worked in the boys basketball in some capacity since 1995.
He’s spent the last 15 years as Cherokee’s head coach and he guided the Chiefs to the Class AAA State Tournament following the 2011-12 season.
Cherokee downed West High to clinch a bid to Murfreesboro.
Parrott, who replaces Mark Blevins, knows that he will have some big shoes to fill.
“What a 22-year run coach Blevins had a t Bearden,” Parrott said. “He took a program that was already great and took it to another level. We’re going to look at all the good things about Bearden High School basketball.
“We’re going to continue to do those things and then we’re going to add in some other things to make the program better.”
At Bearden, Parrott will replace Blevins, who left following the 2015-16 season as Bearden’s all-time wins leader. He won 582 games and took the Bulldogs to the state tournament six times in his 22 seasons at the helm.
Blevins was recently hired at Buckhorn High School in New Market, Alabama.
Parrott went 214-228 in 15 seasons as Cherokee’s head coach. In 2011-2012, he led his team to a school record 26 wins and a state tournament appearances.
He’s looking forward to the challenge of coaching the Bulldogs.
“I don’t think I was really looking to leave [Cherokee],” he said. “But this is a great opportunity for me.
Parrott said he knows things will be different in his new district. At Cherokee, he coached at one of Tennessee’s smallest Class AAA Schools.
“You have great basketball in District 4-AAA and you have great coaches there and you have great coaches and programs in Region 2,” he said. “In District 4-AAA, you get better but everybody else is getting better all the time too. I’m looking forward to the challenges at Bearden. I’m fortunate to have been offered the job.
“At Cherokee, we were one of the smallest Class AAA schools in the state, much less our league,” he said. “Things always changed. [At Bearden], we’re going to do what suits the young men that we have in the program and I’m excited about the opportunity to coach those young men.”
Basketball is only one aspect of Parrott’s life.
Away from the game, Parrott enjoys spending time with his family.
“I’ll be honest, when I was younger I loved to play golf, hunt and fish,” Parrott said. “Now, I’m the father of two boys and I spend my time coaching youth sports. I’ve loved every minute of being a father and raising my boys.”
Parrott and his wife Heather have been married for 12 years. The couple has two children. Drew is 10 and Paxton is seven.
“I’m a family guy,” Parrott said. “I have a great wife and together, we have the opportunity to raise two wonderful boys.”