Earlier this week a link to some of the best baseball teams in Grundy history was introduced to baseball on the Mountain. Cory Pickett, son of the late Coach Chris Pickett and Joyce Pickett, began his teaching career taking the PE position for Palmer and Swiss Memorial. Pickett has also been named the new head coach of the Yellow Jacket middle school baseball program. Of course Cory’s dad, Chris, coached some of those great Grundy baseball teams.
“Everyone has been awesome. I’ve met some of the teachers and administrators again and they’ve all been supportive. Some talked about remembering me as a kid and their relationships with my dad. I’ve just felt so welcomed,” said Cory.
Pickett has spent the last four years as a middle school and high school baseball official and taken notes on things he saw young players needing to learn and improve upon. “That time on the field and now my student and practicum teaching really started teaching me how to deal with the kids. Middle school is a very important time to develop your fundamentals and learn the right way to do everything,” said the December graduate of Tennessee Tech.
He said he always had Grundy in his plans. “I always thought I’d come to Grundy when I graduated. That was my plan to go to school, get my degree and come back to Grundy and it’s all worked out well. A lot of people I’ve talked to are excited. My mom’s excited. I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Pickett.
He will also be involved helping on the high school level with new Jacket Coach Chase Jones and assistants Brad Dees and Freddie Harris.
“The good thing about it is I’m not on my own. Coach Jones, Coach Dees and Coach Harris are going to help me a lot. They’re still deciding about an assistant coach for the Junior Jackets to be with me full time but I know that’s going to work itself out. I just know how committed they are to getting the middle school team on track with what the high school is doing so they’re going to commit to our success as well as theirs,” said Coach Pickett.
New Grundy Head Coach Chase Jones was pleased with the hire.
“I’m excited. I mean I’m really excited. His dad was a great man and a great coach and has a lot of roots up here. I think Cory’s going to be a great asset to add to our program. We’re all excited to have him as part of the family up here,” said Coach Jones.
Coach Jones also commented on an assistant coach and the schedule.
“We’re in the process of that right now and will hopefully have that solidified in the next week or so. Their schedule is probably about 95% complete. They are playing in three preseason tournaments and right now they’re scheduled to play right at 18 games. They’ve got a pretty good schedule laid out and if we add any more it will only be one or two games,” added Coach Jones.
There was a meeting held Monday night for Junior Jacket players and parents where most information about the season was presented. Anyone who hasn’t signed up who would like to needs to contact Coach Jones at the high school or talk to Coach Pickett when you see him at the elementary schools.
So a new era in Grundy County baseball begins this spring with all new coaches and strong ties to Grundy’s past success on the diamond. Here’s hoping for a long successful run for Cory as well as Coach Jones, Brad and Freddie. This writer is very sure Chris Pickett will be somewhere on the field with them too, with every catch and every swing of the bat.