Jason Bowen

Within minutes of one another on opposite ends of the court Monday night, Rosalie head basketball coach Rickey Ragsdale and Macedonia head basketball coach Johnny Green climbed ladders and made the final cut to the net after their teams —Ragsdale's Lady Tigers and Green's Warriors — won Jackson County Middle School Basketball Tournament championships.

The year may be 2106, but it could've well been 1996.

"It's just like old times," Green said. 

The two longtime coaches at the schools, who coach both the girls and boys teams, have combined to win 24 tournament titles (Ragsdale 16 and Green eight). Both have won more than 600 games. Both have coached hundreds of players and made more memories than they can count.

Green has been Macedonia's head coach since 1991. He's deflects any credit toward his players, but Ragsdale says Green is a big reason why Macedonia succeeds.

"He loves the game, he loves the kids," Ragsdale said of Green. "And you can tell how hard he works."

Green said Ragsdale is masterful at getting kids to buy into their abilities and roles.

"He's good at knowing what his kids do well and he's good at getting them to do it," Green said of Ragsdale. "That's probably the hardest thing about coaching this level, getting them to do what they need to do instead of what they want to do. Ricky's always done a good job of that."

They know each other's coaching abilities well. They've been opponents for two decades, both winning their share of big games.

"Every time I play him I think about all the wars we’ve had. We’ve had some good ones," Ragsdale said. "I can remember him working the officials when they’d come by him and then I’d work them when they’d come by me. I think they quit walking by us."

Their teams have enjoyed success, but they also enjoy the process, working with players and seeing their development and their achievements. 

Green and Ragsdale have been doing that for two decades, and neither can think of doing anything better.

"We both love the game," said Ragsdale, who came out of retirement this year to coach. "When you love it, you're going to enjoy it."

 

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