Obion County, TN- On Tuesday evening, May 19th, 2022, Obion County Central High School (OCCHS) invited interested players and community members to the library for the announcement of their new baseball coach. Matthew Pickard, former Gibson Co. and Peabody High School Coach and player for Union University, has accepted a role as the school's new baseball coach, only the 11th in the history of OCCHS, and will be joining their teaching staff as a special education teacher.
Photo Left to Right: Assistant Coach John Buchanan, Principal Barry Kendall, Coach Matthew Pickard, Vice Principal Corry Essary.
Matthew Pickard grew up in Trenton, TN and attended Trenton Special School District from Kindergarten through 12th grade. While in high school, he played baseball, basketball, and football, winning the 2014 2A State Championship in football. In his off time, he spent his summers playing with the Jackson Coyotes and Dulins Dodgers travel organizations.
After graduating from Peabody, Coach Pickard received a scholarship to play baseball at Union University. While at Union, he was on the baseball team and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Special Education in 2019. Due to an injury, surgery, and the subsequent rehab, Coach Pickard ended his playing career before graduation and began coaching while still attending Union. He played and coached under Todd Lumley at his alma mater, Peabody High School, in 2018 before joining Michael Wickersham’s staff at Gibson County High School in 2019 as Gibson County's Pitching/Catchers coach.
After graduating from Union University, Coach Pickard accepted a teaching position at Dyer Elementary School in the Gibson County Special School District and continued to coach the Gibson County High School baseball team. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, Coach Pickard continued his education by earning a Master of Science in Education through Arkansas State University.
Photo Left to Right: John Buchanan, Jace Hall Klay Caldwell, Logan Powell, Keaton Yates.
OCCHS Principal Barry Kendall said that in his search for a new coach he was interested in finding a coach that not only wants to teach how to play the game but wants a coach that is devoted to the development of young men and encourages maturity.
This coach was a no-brainer for me. After interviewing several coaches, I believe we have done a great job with hiring him and we are really excited to see what the future hold." - Barry Kendall
OCCHS Vice-Principal Corry Essary stated that for him, this hire was very important.
I take great pride in what I do and I want this place to be the best place possible. I want the best coaches. I want the best teachers. I want the best administrators. I want your kids and mine to benefit from what we are doing here. -Corry Essary
Essary said that he knows the moment he knew Pickard was right for the job when, during the interview, Pickard stated that after his injury, which ended his playing career, he knew he could rehab, but he knew from age 9 that he wanted to be a coach instead of a player.
After all introductions were made, Rick Yates, OCCHS Booster Club President, presented Pickard with a gift and welcomed him to the Rebel family. Pickard was gifted uniforms and new Obion County Schools' swag.