“I am super excited about the opportunity,” said the 31-year-old Caldwell, who was announced as the new head coach Tuesday. “It definitely means a lot, being an alumni from there and having the opportunity to come back and be the head coach. I’m super honored and super blessed.”
Caldwell was a standout for the Warriors as a player. He was chosen as the Johnson City Press Super 22 player of the year in 2006. He has taught at the high school for five years, assisting with football for that time period and in baseball for three years.
The Warriors have struggled to find wins in recent years, but Caldwell said the potential is there to make better things happen in 2020.
“We definitely have a great group of young players,” he said. “We started a lot of freshmen last year, so our young guys have good experience. And we’ve got some top-notch older guys coming back. It’s a great foundation to build upon.”
Still, Caldwell said he knows things won’t be easy in a league that includes top programs like Elizabethton and Unicoi County.
“You have those two schools, and you have Sullivan South, Sullivan East, Johnson County,” said Caldwell. “You can’t count any of those guys out. It’s very competitive.
“You see the guys at the top and that’s where we would like to be. We want be successful and get Happy Valley back to where it once was. That’s my goal. I want us to try to play the game the right way, and let the game come to us.”
Caldwell said he plans to continue in his previous role as a pitching coach.
“We have a great group of pitchers,” he said. “As far as my assistants, I don’t have a clue who will be there with me. I’ve talked to a few people.”
Caldwell said he doesn’t know where things stand right now with the baseball field. The Warriors were unable to use it during the 2019 season because of damaging floods.