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SPORTS OPINION: Rushing is a part of multiple areas of Jackson sports history

When sports enthusiasts in Jackson talk about influential figures in local sports history, there are plenty of names to mention.

Of course, there are the guys who went on to star in college sports and professional leagues like Trey Teague, Trey Smith, Artis Hicks, Jabari Greer, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Al Wilson.

And of course there are plenty of coaches who have certainly achieved local legendary status like Tury Oman, O’Neal Henley, Johnny Williams, Jerry Hayes, T. Willie Tyson, Johnny Growe, Mickey Marley, Mark Campbell, David Blackstock, Sandra Fitzgerald, Tony Shutes, Robert Craft, Jim Hardegree and Vic Wallace.

One name that certainly belongs in that conversation is Andy Rushing.

Coach Rushing had a smile on his face because he genuinely seemed to be glad to take a photo with the baseball team at North Side last week when the Indians were awarded the Rushing Trophy.

The Rushing Trophy is given to the Jackson-Madison County Schools baseball team that has the best record in games between JMCSS teams.

And there aren’t many people who have touched as many programs at different places in Madison County as Rushing has in his career.

Rushing played high school ball at North Side and college at Union.

After graduating, he got into teaching and coaching, and his first head coaching job was coaching baseball at South Side.

He would later go on to coach at Lambuth and was the head baseball coach. He was also called upon to be the coach to revive the Eagles’ football program and coached it for two years.

“There’s a lot of memories for me on both of these fields,” Rushing said while pointing to the baseball and football fields after the trophy presentation to North Side after their win over Madison at Madison’s field on the University of Memphis at Lambuth campus. “I only coached football for two years at Lambuth, but coaching two sports was the busiest two years of my career, but it was fun too.”

Rushing eventually made his way to his college alma mater at Union, coaching a number of different outdoor sports including baseball and golf.

He thought he’d retired from coaching before getting called back into the service last summer by the Bulldogs’ higher-ups after the golf coach had left for a bigger job in July.

He took it on as an interim coach and led the men’s golf team to their second-ever third-place finish in the Gulf South Conference. The first time was their first year in NCAA Division II when they weren’t eligible to compete in the postseason during a probationary period. So he will lead the Bulldogs to their first region tournament in Georgia in May.

And he’s already agreed to stay on next year to coach both Bulldog golf teams another year despite having retired as an educator and his last day in the classroom being last week.

“I enjoy doing it, and this is a great group of golfers to work with,” Rushing said.

So North Side, South Side, Union and Lambuth with long stints at both colleges that saw a good amount of success on the baseball diamond and on the golf greens.

There aren’t many coaches who are as diversified as Rushing, and the group who wanted to honor Rushing by putting his name on the trophy in the sport that helped put him through college and put him in position to even coach in the first place was a solid choice.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.

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