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Birdsong returning to Calloway County

By Daniel Paulling dpaulling@paducahsun.com

MURRAY - Terry Birdsong is going home.

He was announced on Wednesday as the Calloway County head boys basketball coach at a press conference at Calloway County High School. The announcement came on the seven-year anniversary of his leaving the Lakers for the boys head coaching position at Graves County.

He and his family, however, never moved from Calloway County. Birdsong chose to return to the Calloway County job in an effort to spend more time with his daughter - a rising sixth grader he'll be able to drive to school now and greet when she comes home - and his wife.

"Every game was an away game at Graves," Birdsong said.

He went 150-85 (.638 winning percentage) in eight seasons with the Lakers and 169-62 (.732) in seven seasons at Graves County. Birdsong's career record, which includes two seasons at Webster County and one at Caldwell County, is 371-177 (.677).

He received the position after Bruce Lane resigned on April 29 in an effort to spend more with his family. Lane went 123-88 (.583) in seven seasons with the Lakers.

Lane served as Birdsong's assistant for nine seasons - eight at Calloway County and one at Caldwell County - but Birdsong wouldn't say whether Lane would be on his coaching staff for the upcoming season.

Birdsong led the Lakers to their only First Region championship in 2003 and won two more at Graves County in 2009 and 2013. The postseason success is a large reason why Lakers rising senior Skyler Hunter believes hiring Birdsong was a good move.

"We've got a coach that knows how to win," Hunter said.

"That's a big thing for us because this year we've got the players coming back and a legit shot to win. It's a big hire."

The Lakers went 19-9 with three regular-season wins against Marshall County and McCracken County, the two teams that reached the First Region tournament championship. Calloway County's season ended with a 55-48 first-round loss to McCracken County in that tournament.

However, the Lakers lose just two players, Michael Arnett and Tristan Crady, and return Hunter (11.8 points per game), Parker Adams (13.4) and Connor Wagner (10.5).

Expectations, Birdsong says, are high - including winning the First Region tournament and qualifying for the state tournament played at Rupp Arena.

"I think any time you begin a season, your expectation, your desire, is to play at Rupp Arena," Calloway County athletic director Greg Butler said. "I don't think this year is any different."

Birdsong didn't apply for the position but chose to pursue it after Butler contacted him.

"The first thought that went through my head was that I had a job and I was happy at that job," Birdsong said. "I just never thought much about it. You kind of get tunnel vision on what you're trying to do, your teaching and coaching.

"But there's always been a part of me, when I left here, that stayed. My family's excited to have me around more. I want to play some different roles with my family."

Call Daniel Paulling, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8662, or follow on Twitter @DanielPaulling.

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