A new coach has been named to head the DeKalb County High School Lady Tiger Basketball program.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has signed a contract with Joe Pat Cope of Lebanon.
Cope, originally from White County, is currently a Wellness and Physical Education Teacher at Lebanon High School, a position he has held since 2007. He is also a Varsity Boys Basketball Assistant, Head Coach of the Boys Freshman Basketball Program, and Head Coach of Boys and Girls Tennis at Lebanon High School.
From 2006-07, Cope was a Physical Education Teacher at Unity Middle School at Lincoln County where he served as head coach of boys and girls basketball, assistant football coach, and head golf coach.
He earned a B.A., MDS in 2004 and a Master of Arts, Health, and Physical Education in 2006 from Tennessee Tech University.
Cope says he is looking forward to coaching in DeKalb County. "I live in Lebanon but actually I grew up in White County. I'm from Sparta. I went to high school in Sparta and lived there my entire life until I took the job at Lebanon."
"I went to Tennessee Tech and got my undergraduate degree. My parents opened a grocery store in Sparta so when I got out of school I ran that (store) for a few years. When my mom got sick, we ended up selling the store so I went back to school and got my teaching certificate and my Masters from Tennessee Tech. I started coaching about five years ago."
"When I first got my degree I went to Chattanooga and worked at Chattanooga Notre Dame for two seasons. I coached boys and girls basketball there. I was the boys assistant and girls assistant there and I was the head coach of track."
"I then went to Unity Middle School in Fayetteville at Lincoln County. I was there for one season."
"I really missed the high school game so when the opportunity came up at Lebanon I decided to go there and that was two seasons ago. I enjoy being at Lebanon. I love the people and the community but my heart has always been to be a head coach so I applied for the DeKalb County job and I'm very excited about getting the position."
Coach Cope says he believes the DCHS girls basketball program can be winner. "We've got to change the attitudes and let these girls know that they can win. I know it's a tough district but school wise, DeKalb County is the second biggest high school in the district. If the girls come in and give me 110% and will work, then we will turn this program around. These girls have to realize that they can win. The mentality just has to change. I always try to keep things very positive. We had tryouts today (Wednesday) and I saw enough in the first two hours to know that we have some very talented young ladies here and their attitudes were great. They were upbeat. I just really think we can turn this around. We're going to start practice on Tuesday, then we've got to get ready for camp at Tennessee Tech June 13th-17th"
Coach Cope says he will be living with his father in White County until he finds a home in Smithville. Cope is divorced and has one daughter, four year old Reagan.