KODAK — Two weeks shy of his 40th birthday, Matt Buckner is a Hall of Famer.
Buckner, Farragut High School’s longtime baseball coach, was inducted into the East Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in a ceremony Saturday night, June 2, at Smokies Park.
Under his leadership, the Admirals have reached the Class AAA State Tournament seven times in nine seasons. He guided the Admirals to state championships in 2010, 2011 and 2014. Farragut has posted runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2015 under his guidance.
Buckner won his 500th game as a varsity coach when the Admirals routed Bearden 12-3 April 27 at John Heatherly Field/The Ballpark in Farragut.
He learned much of his craft under the direction of Tommy Pharr, who coached Buckner at Monterey High School in Middle Tennessee.
Buckner then came to Knox County as an assistant under Pharr at FHS before taking his first head-coaching job at rival Bearden High School.
He guided the Bulldogs to the 2009 state tournament.
After that season, Buckner replaced Pharr as Farragut’s new skipper in 2010.
Buckner has amassed 508 wins over his illustrious coaching career with the Admirals and Bulldogs in Class AAA.
He reacted to being honored by his peers Saturday night.
“I’m still pretty young,” Buckner said. “This was really nice.
“I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve worked at two great schools,” he added. “I’ve been very fortunate to have some great players and some great assistant coaches.
“This was all really nice and I’ve been extremely fortunate.”
Farragut High athletic director Donald Dodgen said he and principal Ryan Siebe are extremely proud of what their baseball coach has accomplished at FHS.
“It couldn’t happen to a nicer young man,” Dodgen said. “He’s a great baseball coach and a great teacher. More than that, he’s just a great person and we’re happy to have him.
“He’s just a good person, and Mr. Siebe and I are very proud of him and everything that he has accomplished. I’ve watched him grow up so much over the years. He’s an outstanding baseball coach.”
Buckner and his 2018 Ads (34-8) won the District 4-AAA regular-season and tourney titles plus the Region 2-AAA crown.