Grainger Today Correspondent
WASHBURN – John Sewell was named the boys basketball coach for the Washburn High School Pirate basketball team earlier this year.
Sewell, who has coached with three Hall of Fame coache;, Ken Sparks as a football assistant at Farragut, as well as two years at the University of Georgia, with women’s coach Andy Landers, and one year with Joe Ciampi, the girls coach at Auburn University.
Sewell, who grew up in Blaine, attended Rush Strong School for six years before completing elementary school in Corryton, and then graduating from Carter High School. He then graduated from Carson Newman College, where he majored in education.
His basketball coaching career began with a middle school team at Farragut. That was followed by a years of coaching and teaching in Richmond, Virginia, and one year working as an assistant girls basketball coach at Carson Newman.
After his years with Landers and Champi, he moved to Knoxville, where he worked in the manufacturing business. He then worked for six years with Russell Athletics before returning to teaching with a job at Washburn High School. He coached one year at Washburn (1995-96), where current athletic director, Aaron Clay, and current school board member, Derrick Williams, were members of the team.
“John is someone who will bring a lot of discipline to us,” said Clay. “The kids are excited. He has been in several coaching situations and was my coach when I was a junior. I have a lot of respect for him.”
“It’s all about the players,” said Sewell of his approach to basketball. “I told the guys I expect more from them than they do of themselves.”
Coach Sewell, who had his players running cross-country for conditioning this fall, will hold the players accountable. “They’re good kids,” said Sewell. “They need direction and positive stuff in their lives. I’ve told them small things make big things happen and how they respond matters, whether its in class, in the hallway, at home or on the court.”
According to Sewell, the Pirates have 10 players who have about equal talent, and he will be trying to run and play an up-in-your-face, man-to-man defense.
“I’m excited about becoming the coach,” said Sewell. “I want to build excitement and try to get the school and community involved. We want to make it an event instead of just a game, but to do that, we need to win.”