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Haile named to White County sports hall of fame

He’s already achieved legendary status in Warren County for guiding the girls basketball team to a state title in 1979.
Bobby Haile now has another distinction to add to his list of accomplishments as he’s been inducted into the White County Sports Hall of Fame.
The induction came last Friday, Feb. 1, with several of his former Lady Pioneer players in attendance.
“It caught me off guard,” said Haile of seeing his former players from Warren County at the ceremony. “I was up at the podium giving a speech when I looked up and I saw them. That’s when I started to get choked up.”
Haile grew up in White County playing football and basketball. He earned a football scholarship to Tennessee Tech.
After graduating from college, he spent 40 years as a football and basketball coach, getting his start in Warren County as a coach for Central High School in 1967. After school consolidation in 1969, Haile spent two years as an assistant basketball coach under Joe Stewart before becoming the girls head coach in 1972 when Stewart became school superintendent.
“People remember the state championship and that was awesome,” said Haile. “We beat a Riverdale team that was 32-0. It was a team people said couldn’t be beat. But we came awfully close to a state title in my first year in ’72. We made it all the way to the championship game and lost by two points on a last-second shot by Bradley Central in the finals.”
In all, Haile coached in Warren County from 1967 to 1985. After leaving Warren County, he continued his coaching career in White County.
Haile is fondly remembered by his former Lady Pioneer players.
“There’s never been a coach in Warren County history as good as Bobby Haile,” said former player Carla Bush. “Every child in Warren County should be so fortunate as to have a coach like him as a role model. If you weren’t doing what it took to reach his level of play, you didn’t need to be there. That’s the way he looked at it.”
Former player Lisha Cotten, a starter on the state championship team, agreed. “He was hard on us and he made us work. I’ve always had a lot of respect for coach Haile.”
Coach Haile admits he had a hard-nosed philosophy because that’s the way he was raised.
“I was always brought up that if you’re going to accomplish anything, you have to work hard at it and go get it,” said Haile. “I always pushed them because I wanted them to be the best they could be and it was enjoyable to see how much they improved.”
While Haile is widely remembered in Warren County as head coach of the state championship girls basketball team, he was also an assistant football coach. He said he really enjoyed the years he spent coaching with Bobby Newby when the Pioneers had three Womack brothers, most notably running back Jeff Womack.
Haile, now 70, says he spends most of his time nowadays playing golf and going fishing.

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