Perry head coaches Hardy, Tucker moving on
Brett Hardy has seen football head coaches and athletics directors come and go in 16 years as boys basketball head coach at Perry.
But that streak is over.
Hardy is no longer the boys basketball head coach at Perry, and Lorne Tucker has resigned as baseball and softball head coach.
The program stayed in-house with replacements for basketball and baseball.
Reggie West moves from girls basketball head coach to boys head coach, girls basketball assistant Tyler Rodgers takes over the girls program, and baseball assistant Tim Hutchins takes over for Tucker in baseball only.
Hardy, a Perry native and Westfield graduate, and Tucker were told late last month that their contracts would change, and they would no longer have extended contracts. County school systems have varied contracts, from 10 months to 12 months. Hardy and Tucker were on 10 1/2-month contracts.
Hardy considered that change as well as time spent away from his family and decided to resign.
“Ultimately, it was my decision,” Hardy said of his June 1 announcement. “I was not told to leave basketball, (was told) that things would stay the same.”
Hardy has two daughters in high school and a son in the fifth grade. Hardy said the youngest was most vocal about the year-round schedule and family time.
“ ‘Dad’s never home,’ ” Hardy said. “I thought about it. He’s right. But it’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, and the hardest thing was standing in front of those (players) and telling them.
Hardy will move to Perry Middle and coach seventh-grade basketball and middle school track and field while continuing as Perry’s varsity cross country coach. The boys cross country team has won eight straight region championships and the girls two in a row.
“It’s for the kids and the parents that deserve (it),” Hardy said of remaining with cross country.
Tucker’s decision was based less on the change in contract and more on personal and family reasons. He has two daughters, Perry graduates and former athletes, and three granddaughters living nearby.
“My wife and I, we’ve been talking about it the last year or so,” said Tucker, who resigned May 26 and left a day later with wife of 34 years Lisa for a two-week trip that took them to Texas — and places in between — and back, arriving home Saturday evening. “There would come a day I would give up coaching.
“(They) have sacrificed a lot over the years for me to pursue something I love. We knew this time would come. For personal reasons, the time is now.”
Tucker has been the softball head coach since 2008 and baseball coach the past three years, entering the coaching and teaching profession fairly late. The Desert Storm veteran left the Navy in 1991 and entered the insurance business before getting his teaching and coaching certificates in 2008. The softball team has a Final Four and a few Elite Eight appearances to its credit, and baseball has reached the Sweet 16 under Tucker.
Hutchins, a Perry graduate and baseball assistant for several years, is taking over for Tucker in baseball.
“He’s a fine, fine young man and fine baseball coach, and he bleeds maroon and gold,” Tucker said. “If I was able to write script on my resignation, he would’ve been the guy I hoped got the job.
“He’s going to do a great job. Perry High School baseball is in good hands.”
Tucker will remain at Perry as a math teacher.
“I love Perry High School; I love the kids at Perry High School,” he said. “I love the kids that I’ve coached over the years that graduated from Perry High School. I’m a Perry Panther.”
Hardy’s move is a big one in Middle Georgia high school basketball. Hardy went 262-188 at Perry in 16 seasons, giving him rare longevity among boys basketball head coaches.
Clyde Zachery has been at Crawford County for nearly 40 years and Aaron Geter has led Wilkinson County since 1998-99. As it is, Perry is the latest school making a boys basketball change this year, joining Monticello, Taylor County, West Laurens, Houston County and Bleckley County, among others.
Hardy certainly didn’t expect the 22-9 season in 2016-17 to be his final one atop the boys program, and said he’s still adjusting. But he recently played golf with his son, and then they went swimming, which wouldn’t have happened if Hardy was on the court for off-season workouts that started at the beginning of the month.
“In the long run, family is the most important thing,” Hardy said. “And that’s who benefits the most.”