Poe returns to the high school ranks

Douglas Fritz • Mar 23, 2018 at 11:22 PM

After 37 years in the business, Mike Poe has been there and done that.

So he decided to go there and do that again.

The 61-year-old Poe was announced Friday as the new boys’ basketball coach at Volunteer High School.

“I’ve done a lot of things and I’ve been very fortunate,” said Poe, a former head coach at Science Hill. “I felt like it was a time in my life I needed to give something back. I’ve gone from job to job and tried to improve each time. But I’ve kind of gotten to the point where that doesn’t matter anymore.”

Poe said he knows what he faces at Volunteer, a program that hasn’t won more than three Big Seven Conference games in a decade.

“I know the situation Volunteer has been in, and it hasn’t changed a whole lot,” said Poe. “I know what is facing me because I’ve sat on the other side of the court. My eyes are wide open.

“Not that I’m going to be change anything, but I want to give it a shot. I want to take the things I’ve experienced and learned, and see if I can do something for the Volunteer family. I am excited and looking forward to it.”

Poe started his coaching career at Meigs County in 1981. He became head coach in 1984 and led the Tigers to the Class AA state semifinals in 1985 and 1986.

In 1987, Poe moved on to Volunteer, and in 1988 he became head coach at David Crockett. He led the Pioneers to the Class AAA substate in 1990, and stayed with them until moving over to Science Hill in 1996 as an assistant under George Pitts.

He took over as head coach in 1999, and guided the Hilltoppers to the Class AAA state championship game in 2002 before losing to powerhouse Memphis White Station. Poe went 144-35 at Science Hill before leaving after the 2004 season to become a college head coach at Tennessee Wesleyan.

“I wanted to go to that level and see if it would work,” said Poe.

It certainly did. Wesleyan had been to the national tournament three times in school history before Poe arrived, but he led the team to six appearances.

Wesleyan set a school record with 18 straight wins in 2012. Two years later, the team won 20 in a row.

Poe’s record at Wesleyan was 251-186, making him the school’s second-winningest coach. He was a three-time Appalachian Athletic Association coach of the year, most recently in 2016.

Poe’s high school record stands at 347-203, and he said he’s ready to dive into it.

“My juices are flowing a little more than they have in a while,” he said. “And I am a better basketball coach than I was 14 years ago.”

His first task with the Falcons is getting them competitive.

“I think I’ve got a great recipe of what I need to do,” said Poe. “But I have to get the kids to buy into that. We’re not going to put out a house fire with a water pistol. But the old way still works. The game of basketball hasn’t changed.”

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos