By Andy Reed

Mark Purvis resigned as Mt. Juliet High baseball coach last week.

Purvis, who will turn 48 next month, spent 23 years with the Golden Bears as the second baseman for coach Jerry Flatt in 1987-89, an assistant coach under Jerry McFarlin and, for 18 of the past 20 seasons, head coach.

His Bears compiled an overall record of 516-194, one state runner-up finish, six state tournament trips, eight sectionals and nine District 9-AAA championships.

The former Cumberland second baseman and assistant coach also oversaw the building, expanding and maintenance of a field and facility at two different sites. All of that has taken a toll, he said.

It’s just time for me to step away,” Purvis said Wednesday evening, hours after informing his coaching staff and players of his decision. “Health reasons and stuff, I just decided I want to spend time with family.

“Baseball is not a healthy sport to coach, I can tell you that. From January until the end of the season, it seems like a sprint… We built something and now it’s hard to maintain it. Getting old.”

A husband and father of two, he saw over 100 of his players play college baseball, including nine in the Southeastern Conference. Six have gone on to play professional baseball, including three major leaguers – former pitcher Taylor Hill, Caleb Cotham (currently a Cincinnati Reds pitching coach) and Cody Carroll (currently on the injured list in the Baltimore Orioles’ system). Purvis said he plans to continue to teach geography at MJHS.

“I don’t know what else to do,” he said. “I’ll just stay at the school to teach and see what else comes up.

“I can’t explain it, but I want to be able to take a weekend in February and go to Gatlinburg, or go see Cumberland play or go see Vanderbilt (where former Bear Ethan Smith is a Commodore pitcher) play. I don’t want to watch them in the boxscore. I want to watch them (in person) again.”