A new program has been added to Mercer County athletics. Announced on the Mercer County athletics twitter page (@MercerCoTitans) on Tuesday, June 19, the new coed bass fishing program will be available for grades 7-12 beginning in the fall.
Bass fishing season runs from October 1 until the end of November before picking back up in February until April of 2019. The region tournament will be in April and the state tournament will take place in May.
During the two month period from December to January, kids can fish through AAU type teams to get ready for the spring.
Periann Blair will be the head coach and her husband, Chris, will be an assistant coach.
“We’re excited that this is not only going to be a sport that our son is going to enjoy, but it’s going to be a sport for other Mercer County kids to enjoy,” she said. “With that being said, that’s going to create a tradition and excellent academics for these kids. It can open up all kinds of doors for these kids in terms of scholarships for college. That’s another exciting thing to see.”
Blair said she really got interested in bass fishing because of her 13-year-old son, Gabriel.
“Our son has had a fishing rod in his hand since he was about 3-years-old,” she said. “We’ve tried other sports with him, but he’s never really attached himself to any one of them. He’s always come back to fishing. He’s got enough tackle and bait to restock Wal-Mart if they were to ever run out.”
Blair said her husband Chris has shown nothing but support for her to pursue this opportunity.
“He’s just shown an incredible amount of support throughout this whole thing, and he’s going to be our assistant coach,” she said.
Blair said the process began back in December of last year.
“My son was a little discouraged that our school program did not offer bass fishing. My husband and I just started digging up information,” said Blair. “We contacted Superintendant Dennis Davis who put us in contact with Athletic Director Donald Wayne Smith and Assistant Athletic Director Charlie Cox.”
Cox expressed his excitement for the program.
“The Mercer County Athletic department is extremely happy to offer this new, exciting opportunity for out students. Over the past few years, bass fishing has been our most requested sport that we did not offer,” he said. “Through the hard work of Periann Blair and our athletic and high school administration, I’m excited to see this come to fruition.”
Blair said since December, she and her husband have been in contact with Cox and it finally became official this June.
“We had a sign up sheet two months before school let out and over 60 kids signed up,” said Blair.
The connection between sports and advertising is complicated at the high school level, but not with bass fishing.
“One thing that’s really going to separate us from other sports is the ability for us to sell advertisements on our jerseys. That’s what really going to be able to drive our team this year is to collect that money so our kids can travel,” said Blair. “Not only is it going to be good for our school, but it’s going to be a good way to help out our community too.”
There will be an open house Thursday and Friday, August 2-3, for the middle school and high school. For more information regarding the fishing team, contact Periann Blair 859 325-1663.