by CHARLIE CHITWOOD
The Jefferson High baseball team found itself on the diamond under the direction of a new head and assistant coach Monday after Don Cupples and Rodney Keith were named to head up the team through the rest of the 2018 schedule.
The move followed a re-assignment of former head coaches Johnathan Jolly and Kirby Moore, both of whom had already submitted letters of resignation to the JISD Board of Trustees effective at the end of the school year.
Jefferson Independent School District superintendent Rob Barnwell said the move was “not part of our normal intent to do something like this” and thanked Jolly and Moore for “their hard work and dedication to our kids.”
“Mid-season coaching changes are most always unusual,” Barnwell added. “While there’s really nothing I can say about anything that might be part of a district employee’s personnel file, I can tell you that we’re all confident in the experience and good relationship Coach Cupples has with the kids. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season.
Cupples – in his second year on the JISD coaching staff – teaches English 3 and technical writing at Jefferson High and serves as the JISD University Interscholastic League coordinator. He also works on the football staff and coaches defensive backs. Cupples was on the baseball coaching staff at Elysian Fields beginning in 2000 and was head coach there from 2007-2010. He was head baseball coach at Deweyville for two years and an assistant at Pine Tree High in Longview before joining the Jefferson staff.
Keith is also well-known within the school and acts as the Jefferson Junior High athletics coordinator.
The Bulldogs first order of business under “Coach Cupp” was Monday night’s power-outage delayed, 4-0 loss to visiting Elysian Fields. The ‘Jackets’ Jonathan Ramsey turned out the lights on Jefferson hitters, throwing a one-hit shutout past the Dawgs while striking out 16 hitters.
Mason Reeves came up with a double for Jefferson’s only hit of the night and two other Bulldogs reached base via walks.
Trace Smith walked four and gave up a pair of two-run innings in the loss but also struck out nine Elysian Fields batters.
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