Dean of hoops

Chris Whitt is the dean of Limestone County basketball coaches. He’s coaching his 13th season at Tanner High School and has won the past five county championships going into the this year’s tournament.

Chris Whitt of Tanner High School is the dean of all Limestone County boys basketball coaches.

He is in his 17th year at the school and 13th season as head coach of the Rattlers; a position where he has won six county championships, including the last five.

Despite all of his success, Whitt remains extremely humble and tends to point out everyone around him before taking credit for himself.

“I’ve been really fortunate to have had some great players and assistant coaches during my time here,” says Whitt, a 1983 graduate of Elkmont High School. “My assistant coaches have been excellent. Jason Camp was with me from day one when I got the head-coaching job and he stayed with me for nine years before he got a head coaching position in Huntsville. Kyle Owens and Andy John King are doing some excellent work for me now.”

Whitt doesn’t even seem aware of the fact that he’s had the longest coaching stint in Limestone County basketball.

“You know, I’ve never really thought about it,” he said. “I know Coach (Mike) Sanderson up at Ardmore has been there for a long time, just not in consecutive years. I think there are a lot of good young coaches in the county right now.”

Whitt sees his success as a result of having the right people in place to run his schemes.

“I’ve been blessed with good players, talent wise, but they have all been hard workers as well, “ said Whitt, whose ’97 and ’98 teams played in the state finals in Birmingham. “Our philosophy has always been to eliminate problems before they start. We don’t want any kids on our team who do more damage than good. But, you know, I’ve never really had any bad kids. They’ve all been great. They’ve all done what we‘ve asked.”

Whitt’s Rattlers are once again rolling along this season. Tanner is 16-4 on the year and is ranked No. 10 in the state in Class 2A.

Whitt believes this year’s team has as much going for it as any of his other great teams.

“We’re getting there,” he said. “Potential for them is unlimited. They’re comparable talent wise to the 2001-2002 team (a team that made it to the “Elite 8” and whom Whitt feels may have been his most talented).

“We’ve got a couple of new guys that didn’t play with us last year so the chemistry was somewhat lacking to begin with, but it seems to be coming around. We’ve just played so many games here lately. I think we’re kind of tired but we had one of our better nights last night (against West Morgan.”

Tanner will once again be the favorite to win the county tournament later this month and is expected to make a deep run into the postseason.

But don’t expect any gloating from Whitt. That’s just not his way.

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