A familiar face will be taking the helm for the Lynn Camp Wildcats in the coming season. Following the retirement of legendary coach Dinky Phipps, Rodney Clarke has been named the Wildcats’ new coach.
After serving as the Lady Wildcats’ head coach last season, Clarke expects the transition back to coaching boys to be an easy one. “I’ve got six years of collegiate experience coaching men,” said Clarke. “So, the transition back should be pretty smooth.”
Clarke believes that the Lady Cats are on an upward trajectory, and felt like it was time to allow someone else an opportunity to lead the team. “All the girls bought in,” he said. “They did everything I asked of them. While we didn’t have the type of season we wanted to last year, it was a great experience for everyone. We all grew in some capacity. I was very proud of how hard they worked at everything they did. They are on the right track for sure, and I believe that we will see a lot of good things out of them in the coming years.”
With COVID-19 destroying the landscape of high school sports, Clarke highlighted how his team may be “under the radar,” allowing them to sneak up and upset some teams within the region. “We’re going to be flying under the radar a little bit.” he said. “That’s not the way I typically like things to be. Typically I like being the team that has that target on their back -- the hunted. But, I really think that by the end of the season, Lynn Camp will be a household name, and everyone will know how good we actually are.”
With limitations due to the pandemic, Clarke is facing adversity that is rare to a first-year coach. “A lot of places around us are in the gym already,” he said. “We haven’t been able to get in and do any work yet. We’ve got guys that are working hard individually on their own time, and that’s a good sign. I know that once we get into the gym, we will be working even harder.”
Clarke also spoke very highly of his predecessor, coach Phipps. “Coach Phipps did a great job with those guys,” he said. “He is a great coach. You can look at anywhere he has been, and see that success follows him around. Those are some big shoes to fill, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think we’ve got some guys in place that can really help us win some games. We’ve got some guys like Maison Prater that are coming back that are going to be huge for us.”
Amidst the pandemic, Clarke thinks the issue should be taken seriously, as to help ensure that seasons are played. “I think we should take the virus seriously,” he said. “We’re just going to do what they ask of us to make sure that all of our players, our families and other individuals are safe. We’re going to take every precaution necessary to ensure that we get to have a season.”
The Wildcats are currently slated to take on Casey County in their season opener on November 28, at home.