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Reds chance long gone, Mashburn new Bearden softball head coach

A football teammate of Eddie Courtney at Fulton High School in the early 1970s, Gary Mashburn’s forte for the Falcons was baseball.

But as with Courtney, Farragut football head coach, Mashburn would follow a similar path in high school coaching/education.

However, with a fastball he said rose to the ‘”mid-nineties” as his platinum pitch, Mashburn could have signed with the Cincinnati Reds out of high school. But he chose the UT Volunteers and a full-ride scholarship.

Then came the injury that limited his baseball future — and perhaps led the Fulton graduate into coaching and teaching. And eventually to Bearden High School as its new softball skipper in 2007.

“I suffered just a little bit of a rotator cuff injury ... it caused a little decrease in the velocity,” said Mashburn, hired recently by BHS athletic director and assistant principal Lynn Hill. An elbow injury suffered during football also took its toll on his pitching.

Though injuries ended hopes of professional baseball, “I had a pretty good career at U-T with a fourteen-and-three record,” Mashburn said.

A health teacher at Karns Middle School the past 19 years after starting his teaching career at FHS (two years) and one at Bluegrass Elementary in the 1980s, the new BHS skipper began coaching on the diamond as an assistant with the Karns High School Baseball team for four years in the 80s. He then served nine years as a KHS softball assistant coach.

Mashburn, 53, was also KMS boys basketball head coach for 12 years, then assistant basketball coach at Central High School for three seasons (2003-2006).

“He had some experience, and he was willing and excited to take the job,” Hill said. “He has some wisdom about the sport, has worked with girls before. Worked with spring sports before.”

Mashburn will replace 10-year BHS softball head coach Mark Blevins — but the successful ex-skipper will be alongside the new boss in the Lady Bulldog dugout.

Hill said he asked Mashburn if retaining Blevins as assistant coach would be a problem — perhaps casting too big a shadow for a new coach?

“No, not at all,” Mashburn said. “Number one, there won’t be a big transition. ... I have no problems at all with coach Blevins being there. ... We’ll work it together and make it work.”

Blevins said he stepped down because of the overlap between softball and the end of basketball season, given his duties as Bearden boys varsity head coach that were diverting attention away from softball.

Mashburn and wife, Kathy, have one son, Ryan, 22.


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