Five questions: Pitts caught the coaching bug at UT

Douglas Fritz • Jun 2, 2019 at 12:20 AM

Area sports fans know basketball has been a key part of George Pitts’ life.

But what would the former Science Hill head coach have done if his path led him another direction? His answer to question No. 5 may surprise you.

Pitts coached the Hilltoppers to their first state championship in 1990, and added two more (1994-95) before he moved on to Brentwood Academy and won four titles in a row. These days, Pitts is the head basketball coach at King University.

1. What was the reason you first got into coaching?

I was getting close to graduating in business from the University of Tennessee. I led a Young Life Club at my old high school in Knoxville and really enjoyed working with high school kids. So I decided to remain at UT for another year and get a degree in education also.

When I graduated from UT, I went back to my high school for a teaching job. I was junior high baseball coach and junior-varsity basketball coach at Young High School. For most of the first two years, I was just there. But during that second year the coaching bug hit me, and I started doing everything I could to be better in what I was doing. I coached those two sports for one more year and then got the head basketball job.

2. How different would coaching have been in the 1980s and 1990s if you had access to the amount of video that is available these days?

I would say this: Without it, practice time was fundamentals, shooting, five on five, and going through what your opponents did if you had scouted them. With video, it would have been the same, except more time would have been spent on your opponent, because I would know everything they did.

3. Looking back, if you could have done something a little different during your time at Science Hill, what would it have been?

I would have started playing fast and pressing in 1983-84 instead of 1988-89. And would have started playing 10-12 players a game in 83-84 instead of 88-89.

4. What was the best thing you experienced as a high school or college basketball coach?

No. 1 was being a part of the development of young men.

No. 2 was seeing them grow on and off the court.

No. 3 was the relationships and friendships I have with the assistants I worked with and the players I coached.

No. 4 was seeing the players become fathers/husbands and leaders in what they do.

No. 5 was the joy in working with players who have a true passion to be the best they can be.

5. If you had never gotten into coaching, for whatever reason, what do you think you would have done for a living?

I have thought about that several times in my life. First let me say this: I thank the Lord almost daily for leading me into coaching boys/men.

If I had not done this, I can think of two possibilities. One is the the military. I did not serve in any capacity, but at times have regretted that I did not serve my country. I think if I had not gotten a teaching/coaching job out of college, I would have joined the military.

The second one is the grocery business. All through high school and college I worked in a grocery store. I worked in all three departments: grocery, produce and meat. I enjoyed that.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos