KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett didn’t have to look far to find a new head coach for its girls and boys soccer programs.
On Wednesday, D-B announced that Blake Rutherford will lead the Tribe soccer teams.
Rutherford had been an assistant coach in the program for six years. He takes over for former head coach Chris Woods who resigned in May.
“I’m ready to take the next step in my career,” said Rutherford, who was a four-year letterman at Morristown East. “The moment the job became available I knew I wanted to apply.”
After a number of years as an assistant, Rutherford recognizes that his perspective and that of his players will be different.
“Our standards for the D-B soccer program won’t change,” said Rutherford. “There’ll just be a different voice.
“I do think that having someone who has been a face in the program for a few years will make the transition easier,” added Rutherford. “There should be a comfort level for them.”
As with all coaches, Rutherford looks to put his stamp on an already storied soccer program.
“The work rate and effort on both sides of the ball needs to pick up,” said Rutherford. “I want D-B soccer to have the fittest teams on the field.
“We’ll make practices harder than the games,” added Rutherford. “That should make the games easier and more fun.”
Rutherford will emphasize taking care of the ball.
“Obviously, the more you possess the ball the better,” Rutherford said. “But it is important that you do something with it when you have the ball.
“We’ll put a little more into defending and applying pressure on defense,” said Rutherford. “You have to deny first then exploit at the other end of the field.”
The Lady Indians will begin preseason conditioning soon and expectations will run high.
“We will definitely be competitive,” said Rutherford. “We have a solid core of seniors returning and our underclassmen are much improved.”
And how does Rutherford see his transition from assistant to head coach?
“It should be interesting,” said Rutherford. “Now I’m the one who is accountable for the decisions that are made.
“Day in and day out I don’t see a lot of change,” added Rutherford. “I expect that it should be a seamless transition.
“Right now I’m ready to get to work.”