Wayne coach is selected for hall of fame

Published 1:30 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

Rodney Woods loves to win. He also understands the importance of being a role model for his players.

“When it’s all said and done, Christ wins,” said Woods, longtime boys basketball coach at Wayne County. “I’m extremely competitive and love to win as much as next person, but being a Christian makes all the difference because I have that peace that passes all understanding.

“I never worry much, but when I catch myself worrying, I ask God to forgive me and take it over. There are frustrating times in coaching, but I just roll my sleeves up and go back to work. No magic potions, no secrets, just teach the game the right way and let players perform. I’ve always trusted my players because they’ve been prepared for the situation in practice.”

Woods, 65, will be awarded for his approach on and off the court this summer. Woods will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony set for June 26 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Woods and a total of 30 coaches from 18 states will be enshrined into the prestigious Hall of Fame.

“I’m very appreciative of the honor, but understand completely it’s not about me,” he said. “(It’s) a culmination of really good players — players win games not plays drawn up by the coach — really really good assistant coaches, great fans, good administration, and a wife that loves it as much as you do. This award also came about by what’s happening in this interview, through the Lord providing an opportunity to tell the greatest story ever told about how a Savior came lived a perfect life then died a horrible death, then had a glorious resurrection so that I and all those I love and everyone could have a way to be forgiven and so we could spend eternity with Him. That gives me cold chills much more than a basketball game ever could.”

The award is based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors and other achievements and Woods was selected to receive the honor by his peers throughout the state.

“(Coach) Woods has had a huge impact on the athletic programs at Wayne County Schools, especially the boy’s basketball program,” Wayne County Athletics Director Kevin Jones said in a statement on the school’s website. “Everybody that has played for him has become a better person, as well as a better player.”

A longtime Southern Baptist, Woods is a member of Elk Spring Valley Baptist Church in Monticello and is heavily involved in his local church. Woods serves as Sunday school teacher, while his wife, Cynthia, is in charge of nursery during Sunday school hours. He is currently part of the pastor search team and coordinates the county fair parking ministry.

“Money we receive is donated (every penny) to our local Help Pregnancy Center that helps young girls see the need to not have an abortion,” he said. “A couple of ladies in our church felt God’s call to start this ministry and it had become a tremendous outreach.”

Woods, a 41-year veteran in the coaching profession, has been the head boys basketball coach at Wayne County High School since 1989. During that time, the Cardinals have made nine trips to the Sweet Sixteen and have won 19 district titles. He has won 881 games during his career, including 671 at Wayne County. Prior to becoming a coach, Woods played with Bernard King and Ernie Grunfield at the University of Tennessee. He is also a Bell County native and was a star at Lone Jack.

Woods retired as a full-time teacher three years ago but stays active when he reports to duty during the season, a time frame he enjoys and has earned.

“I coach only and I like that,” he said. “Showing up at 2 p.m. every day is pretty enjoyable.”