Coaches of the Year Honored at Middle Tennessee High School Sports Awards

The Middle Tennessee High School Sports Awards on Monday night recognized two exceptional coaches as Coaches of the Year. Independence boys basketball coach Mark Wilkins and Pickett County girls basketball coach Brent Smith were both honored for their outstanding performance in leading their teams to state championships.

The event, held at Marathon Music Works, was produced in partnership with Nissan and sponsored by USA TODAY Sports. Wilkins and Smith joined a prestigious group of coaches who have been recognized for their exceptional achievements in high school athletics.

Wilkins led Independence to their first state title in Class 4A with a 53-44 victory over Cookeville. Since joining the team in 2021, he has amassed an impressive record of 91 wins, two District 10-4A titles, two Region 5 titles, a state runner-up finish in 2023, and now a state championship. The Independence boys basketball team was also a finalist for Boys Team of the Year.

Smith guided the Pickett County girls to their first state title in 35 years with a thrilling 56-45 victory over Moore County in the Class A final last March. As a coach, he had previously taken two Pickett County boys teams and seven Lady Bobcats teams to the state tournament. His team ended a winless streak last March by defeating Cloudland before claiming their first state title since 1989. The Pickett County girls basketball team was also a finalist for Girls Team of the Year.

The Middle Tennessee High School Sports Awards show was a sold-out event that honored nearly 300 student-athletes from the Mid-State region. It is part of a nine-month student-athlete recognition program that celebrates athletes, coaches, and teams from the Mid State. With over twenty regional shows held across the United States, this prestigious event highlights exceptional performances in high school athletics.

Overall, Wilkins and Smith’s accomplishments are truly remarkable and deserving of recognition as Coaches of the Year at the Middle Tennessee High School Sports Awards.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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