Bruce Bits

Published 4:04 am Monday, May 16, 2005

By Staff
It is hardly a novelty to see a parent coach his or her child at the high school level.
What may be a novelty though is to see a school the size of T.R. Miller, approximately 400 students, have three current coaches with their children on their respective teams at one time.
The school currently has the combination of Lady Tigers volleyball coach Sharon Peacock and daughter Terri Lynne Peacock, Tigers football coach Jamie Riggs and son Mikel Riggs and Tigers golf coach Kim Owens and son Tripp Owens.
In addition to playing for their parent, Terri Lynne Peacock, Mikel Riggs and Tripp Owens share a coincidence in that they are all juniors at the school.
There are some differences in their athletic relationships. The Peacocks are mother/daughter, the Riggs are father/son and the Owens are mother/son.
Another difference is when each entered their athletic program. The Peacocks joined the volleyball program at the same time when it started in 2002. Coach Riggs was an established coach in the football program when Mikel arrived. Tripp Owens was already a player in the T.R. Miller golf program when Kim took over the coaching position this season.
Is coaching your child a win/win or lose/lose situation? Sometimes it's both.
If the coach/parent plays his or her child, some will assume the only reason the child is getting the playing time is because the coach is also the parent. When the child does not play, is it because of lack of ability or a parental decision. Does the lack of playing time cause friction in the home? Does the parent issue criticism as a coach or as a parent on the athletic field? How does the parent/coach guard against favoritism, perhaps when it comes time to issuing postseason awards?
On the plus side, the parent/coach gets to spend a lot of time with the child that normally would not be there.
Starting with this issue and in issues to come, each of the parent/coach-child/player combinations will share some of their experiences.
Two additional current T.R. Miller head coaches who have dealt with this situation in the past are Tigers baseball coach Jim Hart and Lady Tigers basketball coach Ron Jackson. Hart coached son John (a 1995 graduate), while Jackson coached daughters Felicia (a 1996 graduate) and Deanna (a
See BITS Page 3B
1998 graduate).
Hart felt his experience coaching his son, for the most part, went smoothly.
Hart was also (and still is) on the Tigers football staff when John helped quarterback T.R. Miller to a 15-0 and a Class 4A state championship in 1994.
Hart said having played for his father in school helped prepare him for coaching John.
Hart said he was usually addressed by John as "Coach" during athletic competition.
Like the Harts on the football field, the Jacksons also shared a state championship on the basketball coach in 1995 and again in 1996. They were also part of a 62-game winning streak.
Jackson admitted the success his teams had when his daughters played helped make things go smoothly, for the most part.
Jackson said how the team fared had an impact on how Felicia and Deanna addressed him.
Jackson feels he was able to separate player from daughters.
Jackson admits there were some situations where both daughters would turn to their mom (Ron's wife Gwinn).
During the time Jackson and his daughters were enjoying their hey day at T.R. Miller, the Lady Tigers coach made sure son Wade, who just completed his sophomore season at the school, was not left out.
Jackson also coached the Tigers basketball program until the 1999-2000 season when current Tigers coach Rob Atkinson arrived. At that time, Jackson became head coach of the girls team only. Although he tries to lend the boys program a helping hand when he can, Jackson said he does not regret not getting the chance to be Wade's head coach.

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