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UPDATE: Lady Cyclones' Johnson says resignation was difficult decision

Douglas Fritz • Dec 11, 2017 at 5:08 PM

Elizabethton High School’s girls basketball program moved into a new direction Monday.

Head coach Barry Johnson resigned. He will be replaced by interim coach Lucas Andrews.

Taking over a program that made four consecutive trips to the Class AA state tournament — but graduated four-year standouts Kayla Marosites and Kelci Marosites — Johnson led the Lady Cyclones to a 13-16 finish last season.

This year the Cyclones were off to a 2-6 start with an 0-2 mark in the Three Rivers Conference.

Johnson said the decision was a tough one.

“This was a difficult decision, especially the timing of it,” said Johnson. “Personal things don’t happen on a set time. I appreciate the support from (director of schools) Dr. Corey Gardenhour, principal Josh Boatman, and athletic directors Mike Wilson and Eddie Pless.

“I love our basketball team, players and coaches, and will miss them. Go Cyclones!”

Elizabethton athletic director Eddie Pless said Johnson made the decision Monday.

“He basically said he had prayed over it for quite a while,” said Pless. “He said it was time for him to resign as girls head coach.”

Pless said part of Johnson’s reasoning for making the decision during the season was having Andrews on his staff.

“He said there are people in place who are solid,” said Pless. “He said he wasn’t just leaving the program empty handed. There are solid basketball people there. He said it was in the best interests for him personally and the best interests of the program.”

Pless said he was surprised at Johnson’s decision, but added he fully understood his reasoning.

As far as decision to turn things over to Andrews, Pless said it was an easy choice.

“He has the support of the other assistant coaches,” said Pless. “He has been named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. During that time, we will make a decision on how to handle things at the end of the season.”

Andrews has previous head coaching experience, compiling a 34-27 record from 2015-17 with the Lady Highlanders at Cloudland.

The Lady Cyclones will get a quick opportunity to find out how their new coaches does things as they will travel to take on Dobyns-Bennett on Tuesday.

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