For the first time in program history, the Woodville cross country program will be under the direction of a new head coach as it enters the 2020 season.
Bo Harding, who founded the program in 2013, retired prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year.
“It’s an adjustment after you do something for so long,” said Harding, who taught for 20 years at Woodville after teaching at North Jackson High School and Stevenson Middle School and for two years in the Marshall County School System before coming to WHS.
Harding served as Woodville’s varsity boys basketball head coach from 2001-17 and was also the school’s head track and field coach from 2011-19.
“My 20 years at Woodville were a great experience,” Harding said. “I’m grateful to all the kids — I’m going to miss them — and appreciate all the principals and superintendents for their support and all the good parental support.”
Harding, who is diabetic, decided to retire because he is in the high-risk category related to COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“My wife (Felicia) and I talked about it and we decided this was probably best for me,” Harding said. “I tried to wait through the summer to see. About mid-July decided (retiring) was what I’d do.”
Harding did not rule out a return to teaching and coaching in the future but said he’s “looking forward to trying new things. I’m just kind of waiting (the COVID-19 pandemic) out.”
Harding had several cross country and track and field teams and runners qualify for state meets during his tenure. The Woodville cross country program also produced a state champion, as Sara Baugh won the 2013 Class 1A-2A Girls individual state championship. Baugh won all 12 races she ran that season.
“Sara and her experience was great,” Harding said. “We had a lot of fun through the years. The kids were great. My experience coaching them was great. I’m glad were we able to give those kids at Woodville the opportunity (to compete in cross country).”