Why Scott Stidham accepted the Independence coaching job

Independence Boys basketball coach Mark Wilkins and new football coach Scott Stidham have something in common.

Both were coaches at South Gibson from 2015-21.

“I knew after I left that first interview that this was where I wanted to be if I had the chance,” said Stidham, whose the hiring was announced on December 15. “I feel like building a relationship with other coaches in other sports is important.

“Coach Wilkins and I worked together for six years. I knew we worked well together. He loves being here. He had nothing negative to say and did a great job as well.”

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What made their relationship close was when Wilkins coached Stidham’s sons in basketball at South Gibson.

“I became a parent with him and a coworker and we developed a friendship,” Stidham said. “We were exchanging ideas. We taught together for two periods a day during the two semesters. We got closer. I feel like he helped our program and he helped me become a best trainer. “

Wilkins knew he and Stidham would work very well as colleagues due to their passion for coaching.

“What brought us together was our goal,” said Wilkins, who was hired at Independence in March. “We got into coaching because I think we want to make an impact on the lives of young men. It motivated us to be better coaches.

“We’re both competitive people. We both celebrate our wins when we have them. From the start we got a lot because our goal is very similar.”

Wilkins knew Stidham was the right fit for the job. He knew from his experience and background that this would be a perfect fit for Stidham.

Stidham, a graduate of UT-Martin, is from Kansas. He has spent the past 13 seasons at South Gibson, leading the program to a 79-41 record and Class 4A quarterfinal appearances in 2020 and 2021.

He replaces Scott Blade, who resigned after the season.

“I think Coach Stidham earned this job because of his credibility, his track record and his reputation,” said Wilkins. “It’s just ironic that I was already there when he was looking to take a step himself. I would like to say that I had a bigger impact than I did, but we talked a lot about the job and the situation. “

Stidham had three children who graduated from South Gibson before leaving the West Tennessee program. He also started the South Gibson program.

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