Coach Jeff


Paraskevidekatriaphobia - Reblog

For all those among you who are superstitious - or just want a little extra good luck on this day - here are some thoughts I posted on a previous Friday the 13th!



So today is Friday the 13th. Did you make sure to pack your lucky rabbit’s foot when you left the house this morning?

I’ve never really known what to make of this kind of day. I’ve never really been prone to worry about Friday the 13th. The only real superstitions I have ever followed relate to…

Jan 1

These Last Twelve Months


These last twelve months.

I wish I could reflect with one sentence that would sum up my year. However, i don’t know if I can possibly do that. I like lists so maybe i’ll start with that.
1. Family - Family has been interesting this year. My cousin got married. My nephew learned to walk. My…

One of my favorite Christmas movies!

SEAHUND: Tall Ideas and Insolent Ideology


It’s been said that the Marquis de Lafayette had only one idea in his life, but that his was the idea of the century. Societies gather around tall ideas and insolent ideology. Monsieur Lafayette espoused true Republicanism: “sovereignty of the people” derived from “natural and imprescriptible…

Back to School

Seeing all the pictures of happy, smiling faces online this morning was a reminder to all of us that today was the first day of school in Knox County (and some surrounding counties as well). 

Chatting with my sister, I heard that things went well for her daughter, Rory, as she starts the 4th grade. Her younger daughter, Marly, a kindergartner goes for the first day on Wednesday.

Here, my prayers for them and all the kids going Back to School today.

Seeing all the pictures of happy kids reminded me of some of my own first day of school experiences. For us, Back to School occurred a bit later – usually right after Labor Day. There weren’t any of the early postings of class rosters or August Open Houses. To find our classrooms, we did it the ‘old fashioned way.’ You wandered up and down the halls looking at the class rosters posted on individual classroom doors. Once you found your name, you were ‘in!’

And, if you were lucky, you saw the name of one of your pals or two. If you were really lucky, you got a teacher you with a good track record as being fun and nice (or without any sort of reputation).

Going to school for first grade was more of a transition for me than it is for current first graders. Memphis City Schools didn’t have public kindergartens at the time. My kindergarten class was at a nearby church. So, the first day of my first grade was also my first day in public schools.

The transition was eased by the purchase of the lunch pail of my choice, filled with a good nutritious lunch. I don’t think we had yet procured the venerable Scooby Doo box. Years later, Holly wanted to tote that box because it was ‘Shabby Chic…’ (or was that ‘Shaggy Chic?’).  I think Scoob may have showed up for third grade or even later.

One thing I know for sure I had on that first first day was the nifty knapsack that one of my aunts custom-made for me. It had my name stitched on the front and featured pockets for pencils and crayons and, as you can see in this photo, it had a nice nautical design. Anchor’s Aweigh!

Actually, the bag was prophetic. Who knew that I’d later become a Farragut Admiral?

Anyway, the knapsack was a nice treat. I remember it hung on the back of the old school desks we had at Denver Elementary School.

Another nice treat I remember from first grade was ‘Milk Break.’ What a great idea that was…a mid-morning snack of your favorite fruit or snack cake washed down by a cup of ice cold milk. How did we ever get away from such a tradition? (And wouldn’t our days be more productive if, somehow, we were able to go back to that practice?).

I confess that I don’t remember any details about my first day. There aren’t any family horror stories, so it must’ve been good and productive.

And that is my hope for all the first-day goers on this day – from across this great state and everywhere. I hope for a safe, healthy and happy first day of school and an outstanding school year to come.


Vote for Paul

Hello everyone -

I know I’m biased, but I really think Paul did a great job with his commencement speech back in May. If you get a chance, cast your vote for Paul. Voting concludes on the 31st (I’m not exactly sure when it commenced…).

Check it out!


After you viewed the clip, what do you think of the speech?

Jun 1

Farewell to May



May is my favorite month of the year. I really hate to see it go. It’s my month.

But, the calendar moves. This weekend, June arrives. That’s someone else’s month.

June is my month. Thanks for giving it to me. :)

June’s good too! :-)

Coach Jeff's Blog: Happy Mother's Day


I’d like to take this opportunity to give a Happy Mother’s Day shout-out to all those great moms - including my lovely wife - tuning in on this lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon.

Everyone has the BEST mother. I want to make the case for my mother, Pat Gary. (And many thanks to my sister, Lisa, for the…

May 6

Job Hunt

It’s been exactly one week since I started passing the word that I am actively pursuing leads in ‘the job market.’

Since I updated friends about my new - and hopefully temporary - job status, I have made lots of progress. 

I updated my resume:


I also reviewed and tweaked my personal website:

And I have followed up on many job leads that I have found or that friends and colleagues have passed along. I’ve also gotten a number of suggestions that have been very helpful as I target my search.

I want to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt ‘thanks’ to everyone for their prayers and words of encouragement. Trust me…I have definitely felt the support.

Others have asked me how they can best help me.

If you learn of any job leads in the area - in marketing and/or public relations - I would love it if you could send those to me. Or if you happen to look at your company’s website, if they are hiring for someone in those areas, if you could pass those leads along, that would be great. 

Some friends have done those things already and it has been helpful.

More than anything, your prayers and ongoing words of encouragement mean a lot.  For all that and more, I say, “Many thanks!”



State Champs

It is somewhat hard to put into words the emotions that go through your heart and mind when you are a parent and you hear the name of your son or daughter called by the emcee, followed by the words “State Champion.”

We were fortunate to hear those words last April in Collierville and I heard them again this past weekend when Lisa and I attended the 2013 Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League state tournament in Clarksville. We served as drivers and chaperones for the weekend but late on Saturday afternoon, we were just a mom and a dad full of pride when we heard the news that Paul had won the state championship for storytelling for a second straight year.

Paul won first place in storytelling with “Fluffy the Gangbuster,” by Richard Peck.  He won last year for “The Night the Bed Fell” by James Thurber. If you were to ask me which performance I enjoyed more, I would be hard-pressed to answer. Both were excellent – just unique and different.

Watching him do his final presentation was a bit emotional but, at the same time, it was just so very enjoyable. He nailed it.

As a Farragut parent and alum, it was also great to hear all the wonderful news about the achievements of all the members of the Farragut team. In addition to Paul’s win, Farragut took home three other first place trophies.  Connor Hess was named Best Actor and won first place in solo acting and the student-directed Interpretive Theatre piece, “Calvin and Hobbes,” adapted and directed by FHS senior Skylar Grieco also won first place.

It was a good day for Farragut.

Connor won Best Actor for his portray of Ludlow in the One Act Play “Finger Painting in a Murphy Bed.” Paul and Dallas Boudreaux were named to the “All Star Cast” for their portrayals of Reggie and Myra in the same play.

Connor also won first place in solo acting with a piece from “The Rainmaker.”.

Farragut had a number of other finalists. “Finger Painting in a Murphy Bed” finished in second place in the category, One Act Plays.  Other Farragut award winners:
• Bridget Sellers – 3rd place – Poetry
• Skylar Grieco – 3rd place – After Dinner Speaking
• “I am Number Four” (adapted and directed by Connor Hess) – 5th Place – Interpretive Theatre
• Dallas Boudreaux – 5th place – Solo Acting
• Kaci Deakins – 6th place – Costume Design

In all, 27 FHS students represented their district in state competition. They are coached by teachers Lea McMahan and David Crutcher. The THSSDL state tournament was held April 12-13 at Northeast High School in Clarksville.

At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, FHS students celebrated Farragut’s excellent showing. From L-R (front row): Brian Hooyman, Skylar Grieco, Caroline Rexrode, Rachel Liske; (middle row): Kaci Deakins, Emily Stiles, Brianna Smart, Dallas Boudreaux, Paul Gary, Connor Hess; (back row): Austin Teagarden, Mason Laning.

Then, it was time to hit the road and head home!