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Affinity for area draws new Summit hoops coach from Georgia




Thad Burgess, who has won nearly 500 basketball games over a 40-year coaching career in Alabama and Georgia, has been named to succeed Jim Fey as Summit’s boys coach. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Like so many others, Thad Burgess said he’s wanted to relocate to Williamson County for the better part of a decade.

This week, the 64-year-old landed on the south side as Summit’s new boys basketball coach.

“If there’s some place you want to move, it’d be Williamson County, Tenn.,” Burgess said as he was introduced this week. “This has been a four- or five-year venture for me. It’s just a special place, … an opportunity I’d hoped I would have at some point in my career.”

Burgess, who succeeds Jim Fey following Fey’s resignation in March to end a four-year stint, arrives from Oconee County in Watkinsville, Ga. He spent seven seasons there after 13 at Dawson County and a pair of previous stops at Walker (now Jasper) and Opelika in his native Alabama.

Burgess

“I keep seeing the word ‘legendary’,” Summit principal Sarah Lamb said. “He’s very charismatic, he wins everywhere he’s been. We interviewed several people. It took us a while. We felt like after the program really struggled last year, especially, we wanted to make sure we had the right fit.

“We feel like we’ve got some kids in our building that could be playing that haven’t been playing. The big thing we were looking for was, can you build relationships with these kids and bring kids back out that haven’t been out, that maybe have stepped away. I feel confident he’s going to come in and work with these boys and get our program into a place where these kids want to be, they want to come to Summit because we have a great basketball program.”

The Spartans advanced to the Region 6-4A quarterfinals last season, finishing 12-20 for their third consecutive sub-.500 campaign after reaching the Class AAA sectionals and going 22-8 in Fey’s first year at the helm. 

Prior to his arrival at Summit, Fey won 422 games with five state tournament appearances – and Class AA state runner-up finishes in 2011 and ‘14 – in 23 seasons at East Nashville.

Burgess is closing in on 500 all-time victories on the hardwood, and has also served as a baseball coach and a football assistant during his career.

“I have a passion for coaching. That’s all I do. I don’t hunt or fish, I don’t golf,” he said. “I just feel like the timing at Summit is perfect. I’ve been in similar situations where they’re ready to go to a level they feel like they deserve to be at. It’s a situation I think is perfect; it is on my end. I’ve got to prove that to the kids.

“I’m ready to jump in there with ‘em and learn with ‘em and go through the battles we’re going to go through, and I’m looking forward to working with Mrs. Lamb and Coach Kirby and (assistant principal) Danny Borne.”

With the recent announcement of former Columbia Central boys coach Hal Murrell as the successor to Summit girls coach John Wild, both basketball programs will debut new mentors this winter – just as Wild and Fey did together four years ago. Wild was named earlier this spring as girls basketball coach and athletics director at Santa Fe.

Additionally, former Franklin baseball assistant Greg Manuel was announced this week to replace Chad Kirby, who resigned earlier this month after establishing the Spartan program. Kirby will remain as the school’s AD.