The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


June 28, 2010

Coach Prigg leaving fond memories behind at Wheaton

This summer is drastically different than the past several for Tracy Prigg.

Prigg still climbs out of bed early — some habits have been hard to break — but his days have changed.

“Right now I’m doing my own thing,” Prigg said with a laugh on Monday. “That means a lot of golf and I’m really not playing very well.”

Prigg has called it quits after coaching 17 years at Wheaton High School. It’s 30 in all for the product of Webb City High School (1976), Crowder College and Missouri Southern.

“The big change is that before this summer for a long time it seemed like I was in the gym all the time during the summer,” Prigg said.

Prigg, who’ll turn 52 on Aug. 25, might be yelled at even more in the fall. He plans to officiate softball, volleyball and basketball.

Prigg was the Bulldogs’ head coach in softball, volleyball and girls basketball in 2009-10 as well as athletic director at the Ozark 7 Conference school.

“Some of the time it’s simply time to move on,” Prigg said.

But Prigg had nothing but good things to say about the school and community of Wheaton.

In fact, he still called Wheaton home, although he likely will move closer to Webb City or Joplin to be near his parents.

“I think of great kids — at times athletically very talented — outstanding parents and great people, a lot of them, when I think of Wheaton,” Prigg said. “Everyone knew everybody. The cliche — kids would run through a brick wall for you — applied.

“Occasionally, the days would tend to run long,” Prigg said. “But it was my choice.”

Prigg began his coaching career with a four-year stint at Dadeville. He was a solitary coach at the Class 1 school near Springfield.

“There was no doubt when they said, ’Coach,’ whether it was junior high athletes, or high school varsity players, they were asking for me,” he said.

He worked at Sarcoxie, Quapaw, Diamond and Seneca before moving to Wheaton in 1993-94.

Prigg perhaps had his most success with the Bulldogs in volleyball with the 1996 edition placing third in Class 1.

“We had several district — perhaps seven — and conference titles,” Prigg said. “I believe we won five conference titles in a row during one stretch.

“I believe I was head coach in softball for about five years,” Prigg said. “The competition was very tough. It seemed like we always were running into a great pitcher. The sectional rounds in volleyball were loaded, too.”

Prigg said that boys basketball coach Rusty Rowe will add the duties of  athletic director. Amber Gallemore will be volleyball and girls basketball coach. Sadie Ball will coach softball.


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