Chris Mayes wants Lenoir City to win respect

By Jesse Smithey
Chris Mayes doesn't mind competition.

Really good competition, that is.

Mayes, the new baseball coach at Lenoir City High School as of Tuesday, will take his first crack at a head-coaching job in ever-difficult District 4-AAA. That district plays host to four-time defending Class AAA state champion Farragut, as well as Maryville, Bearden, Catholic, West, Heritage and William Blount.

He most recently served as an assistant coach at Campbell County.

"I'm thrilled to death," said Mayes. "I'm ready to get to work and meet the players. We got some big challenges to face, obviously. I just want to put a product on the field that will compete every time we go on the field.

"I want to gain some respect for Lenoir City baseball."

Mayes should be somewhat familiar with District 4-AAA. He played at West and graduated there in 1993. He went on to play at Milligan College. He had a stint as an assistant coach at Gibbs then left to fill a similar position at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. After three years there, he returned to Tennessee in 2004 to coach at Campbell County.

"I loved college ball," said Mayes. "Don't get me wrong. A lot of travel. Things like that I enjoyed. At that time of my life, the financial aspect of it, coming home was the best move for me. We've stayed here ever since."

Lenoir City's style of play won't be hard to classify under Mayes. He wants to put pressure on his opponents and take advantage of their mistakes.

"I like bunting, the hit-and-run and stealing," he said. "I like to be aggressive on the bases, and I'm a big believer in defense. That's the core of your team, your defense and your pitching. That's my philosophy."