New Coach at LCHS
August 20, 2014Lenoir City High School
Wilhite, who has coached football and baseball at Knoxville-area high schools since 1996, returns to baseball for the first time since 2009, which was his second season as William Blount's head coach and fourth year with the program. He also served as interim head football coach at William Blount in 2008 after three years as defensive coordinator.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Wilhite, who was Lenoir City's defensive coordinator for two seasons (2009-10) before taking the same position at Catholic for two years (2011-12). Last year, Wilhite was defensive coordinator at Kingston and taught at Cherokee Middle School.
"It's a fantastic opportunity because we live in Lenoir City, my wife (Patricia) works in the system, and my children go to school here," Wilhite said. "Just to be around the family means more than anything. I really enjoyed it before when I worked at Lenoir City. It's a great place to be."
Wilhite replaces Chris Mayes, who left to become baseball coach at Campbell County High School. Lenoir City was 5-25 last season, 1-13 in District 4-AAA.
Although he hasn't been coaching baseball at the high school level, Wilhite has been a high school umpire for the past five years and occasionally called District 4-AAA games.
Wilhite knows he faces a tall order making Lenoir City a competitor in District 4-AAA, considered one of the state's top baseball districts.
"It's definitely going to be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it," Wilhite said. "You get to play the best teams in the state every night, and you've got to come ready to go."
Wilhite began his career in 1996 as an assistant football and baseball coach at Jefferson County, where he spent four years. He then went to Sevier County and was an assistant football and baseball coach for three years before taking over as head baseball coach for the Smoky Bears. His next stops were William Blount and Lenoir City.
"We're very excited to have Richie back," Lenoir City athletic director Greg Boling said. "It's not just the experience he brings, but I haven't been around too many people that have the camaraderie and are able to build relationships with the kids the way Richie is able to. Wherever he's been, he's gotten the kids to come out and play."
Wilhite will teach wellness at Lenoir City.
"I feel blessed to have this opportunity," Wilhite said. "It's a phenomenal place with a family atmosphere, and a smaller school system. I can't put into words how awesome the family atmosphere is."