|PREP SPORTS -- Inman takes TSU women's coaching job|
|Monday, April 16, 2012|
BREAKS COLOR BARRIER AT TN STATE --
Inman resigned his position as coach of the Lebanon High Devilettes Friday, April 13, a job he held for the past two seasons, to become the first white head coach hired to lead a major sport at the historically black university.
"TSU is serious about the basketball program and I appreciate their confidence -- allowing me to get back into college coaching. I watched this program for a number of years and I believe Tennessee State is a sleeping giant. It is time to wake the giant, to get after people. It is time to take this program to a whole new level, indeed where we’re capable of becoming as players and as a program."
"Coach Inman brings a wealth of knowledge and success in women's basketball," said TSU Athletic Director Teresa Phillips. "We know what he can do and expect to see positive changes immediately. Also, he knows the area, he knows the conference and he knows TSU. He will hit the ground running."
Inman held a meeting Monday morning with the LHS team, informing them of his decision to return to the college ranks. He was introduced as the new TSU coach Monday afternoon.
"There's a really good group of girls at Lebanon," Inman said, "they've made some big strides in two years and I think the best is yet to come for them. I appreciate the support I received at Lebanon from the administration and the fans."
Inman was instrumental in establishing the BLUE League (Basketball League Upper Elementary) for LHS feeders -- a program that is sure to reap benefits for both the girls and boys programs in years to come.
"We were extemely fortunate for Coach Inman to have been our the basketball coach for the past two years," said LHS principal Myra Sloan. "He brought so much to the court; his wealth of experience; not only in basketball but in the classroom as well and his extreme professionalism.
"Larry Joe is tops in every category and he has been a great role model for our girls. I hate to see his leave but I wish him all the success in the world. I am a better person for having worked with Coach Inman. Our loss is TSU's gain."
When the Gallatin native retired from Eastern Kentucky University four years ago, he was the all-time winningest women’s basketball coach in the Ohio Valley Conference after building powerhouse programs at Middle Tennessee State (eight seasons) and Eastern Kentucky University (1988-2008).
Inman was inducted into the OVC Hall of Fame in 2009 after piling up a 480-317 career record and earning OVC Coach of the Year honors eight times.
At Lebanon, Inman led the Devilettes to a two-year mark of 30-26. During a highly successful run at Mt. Juliet High (1973-78) he went 126-24 and led MJHS to the 1977 TSSAA State Championship. White at Mt. Juliet, his teams won five district championships, four region championships and three NIL titles.
He’ll try to pump life into a program that has had just one winning season since 1995. Tennessee State University was 77-157 in eight seasons under former coach Tracee Wells, who was terminated in late March after going 9-20 overall during the 2011-12 season.
Inman is a graduate of Austin Peay State University, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1970. He received his master's degree from Tennessee State University in 1978. Inman is married to the former Bobbie Gene Follis of Shelbyville. They have one son, Jody, and two daughters, Latrice and Tiffany. They also have five grandchildren, Ashlyn, Hailey, Jackson, Austin and Brooklyn.
This story was first reported online Monday morning, April 15 at www.wilsonpost.com.