Eatmon reunited with alma mater

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Former Linden High School head basketball coach Joe Eatmon has begun the next phase of his career after accepting the position of assistant coach at the University of West Alabama.

“It means a lot to me because I received my bachelor’s and my master’s from here,” Eatmon said. “UWA holds a special place in my heart. If it wasn’t for UWA, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be here or to have met the people I did as a student and a player here.”

Eatmon played for the Tigers in the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons before serving as a graduate assistant for the program in 2007-2008. After finishing up at UWA, he took the basketball coaching job at Linden.

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While Eatmon speaks highly of his brief time in the high school coaching ranks, his latest gig affords him a rare opportunity.

“It’s a great business to be in,” Eatmon said of coaching college basketball. “It was an ideal situation. Right now, I am one of the youngest if not the youngest top assistant in D-II basketball.”

His new job also gives him an opportunity to learn at the feet of a man for whom he has great professional respect.

“(UWA head basketball coach) McCarter, he’s a great guy,” Eatmon said of the former D-I coach. “I’m here in a situation where I am learning a lot of that stuff from him about how to go out and recruit kids.”

As UWA’s top assistant, Eatmon’s plate will be filled an assortment of duties. Included among those will the responsibility of serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator.

While he is excited about each aspect of his job, Eatmon said that his favorite part of the coaching game remains the same as it did when he was in Linden.

“I always enjoy developing guys, even when I was at the high school level,” Eatmon said. “That’s one of my favorite parts of this job is getting in the gym with those guys and working them out and seeing them get better right in front of my face.”

Eatmon’s reunion with the UWA program comes at an opportune time for the 26-year-old assistant coach as he will now work with a program that returns the vast majority of a team that made its first NCAA D-II tournament appearance in 11 years last season.

“This is (McCarter’s) third year here,” Eatmon said. “My goal is to build on what he and the other two assistants have already started. That’s my goal, just to build on the foundation that those guys have already laid.”

While he is uncertain of what lies in the future for his career, Eatmon said that his professional goals are focused squarely on the interim.

“Honestly, I’m just taking it one year at a time,” Eatmon said. “My goal right now is just to be the best assistant coach I can be at West Alabama.”