April 10th , 2012 10:02 am 9 Comments

Abel gets nod as Lady Warriors’ new coach


Willing and “Abel.”

Larry Abel

Happy Valley tabbed Larry Abel as the new girls head basketball coach today, replacing Erica Babb-Beach after one season at the helm.

Beach was an assistant to Greg Goulds the year before, but he resigned because his ISS position was eliminated — leaving the team without a head coach. HVHS was granted permission by the TSSAA to hire Beach for a season to fill that vacancy.With no guarantee of a teaching position for Beach, the Warriors began looking from within for the right fit.

Abel was the perfect choice.

The new head coach graduated from Happy Valley in 1988 and was a four-sport letterman while there. He played football for one season at Tennessee Tech and later completed his degree. He returned in 2000 as an assistant football coach to Stan Ogg before moving over to girls basketball as an assistant coach under Stan Ogg. He stayed in that role until 2006.

Abel’s been the top assistant under legendary coach Charlie Bayless for the past four seasons after a one-year stint at Tennessee High.

He remembers the squad coached by Mike Rader that finished as state runner-up in 1989. It’s that type of respectability that Abel would like to bring back to the program.

“I was playing football close by at Tennessee Tech when they brought home the silver ball,” said Abel. “It was my freshman year of college and Murfreesboro was close by, so I went down and watched it. It was special seeing all the student body and fan support there and what it meant to the community. Our league is tough from top to bottom, but we want to bring that type of pride back to this girls basketball program.”

Abel knows what it’s like to wear the Warrior logo not only as a coach, but also as a player.

“I played on some of the better football teams at Happy Valley, and I also played on a couple of really good basketball teams,” said Abel. “All the programs back then were pretty solid. We had a great bunch of players and coaches. The fans support was awesome, too.”

Abel never envisioned himself in this role when he first started coaching. It was his first season helping Godsey that got him hooked on girls basketball.

“I saw myself being a football coach early in my career, but after I coached girls basketball I fell in love with it,” added Abel. “If you can get a girl to believe in you, they’ll run through a wall for you. I love the players we have here at Happy Valley. I’ve had most of them in class at the middle school, so they all know me. They’ve had three coaches in the past three years, so I’m hoping more than anything to bring some stability back to the program. I would love to see us get back to hanging some banners because the rafters are a little bare right now.”

Principal Terry Hubbard believes that Abel will do a great job leading the team.

“He’s been a very good assistant coach to everyone he’s helped,” said Hubbard. “Coach Abel has a passion for this school and he’s been very loyal to Coach Bayless. He’s always had a desire to coach girls basketball, so we’re excited for him to get the opportunity. I know he loves these kids and wants to see them do well both on the floor and in the classroom. He’ll do a great job in his new role.”

Efforts to contact Happy Valley athletic director Bernie Young by phone were unsuccessful.

Abel thanked Hubbard and others for giving him the opportunity to fulfill his coaching desire.

“I am grateful to Mrs. Hubbard, the school board and everyone involved for giving me a chance,” said Abel. “I’ve always looked up to her because she professional in what she does and goes about it the right way.”

Abel has an idea as to who he would like on his staff, but will consult with Hubbard and others before making that choice.

“It’s important to have good help — that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “You want to have a coach that is loyal, but one who is proven and can teach fundamentals. “

The new head coach will concentrate on teaching defense and playing an up-tempo game when practice starts. He’s also not afraid to set the bar high for later down the road.

“I would love to see us get back to Murfreesboro more than anything, but right now we have to have some stability,” he said. “It starts with getting the kids to buy into my system and playing my type of basketball. I’m looking for commitment more than anything because that’s what I want to give back to them.”

If Abel can bring the program back to the Rader days, then fans will be back raising “Cain” on Warrior Hill.


9 Responses to Abel gets nod as Lady Warriors’ new coach

  1. yumyummy says:

    The TSSAA did NOT grant Happy Valley permission to hire Beach for a season. Bubba Harber was given the TITLE of head coach, but Beach ran the team and made the decisions — against the rules of the TSSAA.
    Of course the TSSAA did nothing to enforce its own rule.

    • basketbfan1991 says:

      That shows what you know, a waiver was granted. Your comments show your ignorance just like those behind this decision.

    • opposingstatusquo says:

      Don’t think you know what you’re talking about! But of course there was always a group with an agenda. Wonder who was behind the usual stabbing in the back????

  2. basketbfan1991 says:

    Coach Beach did a great job in her abbreviated tenure with the Lady Warriors! Having played on scholarship four years with ETSU and making all Southern Conference her senior year at ETSU, then being an assistant coach for Karen Kemp @ ETSU then for Coach Goulds at HVHS she probably knows the women’s hoop game better than the “perfect fit” Able does. I’m sure only time will show how many banners his teams will put in the rafters.

  3. opposingstatusquo says:

    I wish Abel well……just wish the powers that be had the guts to make their own decisions without letting a small group of back stabbers sway their decisions. I believe if you asked the girls …they would tell you that they learned alot from Beach and she was a good role model. Hope some other school will be smart enough to snatch her up!!!!

  4. sportsfreak1965 says:

    Why all of the bashing, no wonder we have so much separation? If we do notcome together, none of our programs will excel. Coach Able has more than proved himself over the years as a coach, a teacher and a friend to our kids. He has many years of experience coaching and playing. Beach has very little experience and three small children of her own to tend to. She will make an excellent head coach with some experience under her belt one day. This isnt a match between Beach and Able. I do not think either of them would want that. The program does need stability and Coach Able will bring it. Who are you talking about some little group stabbing in the back, and such?People need to do their homework before they post stupidity. I wish Beach and Able the best!

  5. Warrioratheart says:

    To sports freak……..what it the WORLD does having children have to do with Coach Beach and her ability to coach? It is amazing that she can Coach, be a wife, mother all at the same time. This is 2012!!! Not the 60′s. It proves just another way that she is a role model for the female student athletes. Those girls need a woman to provide positive influences in their lives. After all, wont they eventually grow up to be a wife, mother, and a working adult??? That is one of the dumbest things i have ever read.
    One more question??? Answer this one for the big prize……if coach abel was the dedicated top assisant for the “legendary bayless” then why on earth wasnt he offered the boys job?

    • ilovefacts says:

      Dear Warrioratheart……GUESS WHAT Coach Able WAS offered the boys coach….”yeah, he was offered that job before he was offered the girls, not fiction but a FACT”. So, I guess I can take the “BIG PRIZE”.
      I agree with the person who said this is not a battle between the coaches. It is was a decision made by the principal of the school and she is more than satisfied with her decision!

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