Chat Room - Mark Eldridge

Mark Eldridge, 42, grew up in Livingston, Tenn., played ball for and graduated from Bethel College in McKenzie, Tenn., and pursued a banking career. He then returned to school to obtain his teaching degree at Tennessee Tech. He was head basketball coach at Anderson County High School for eight years before he came to Maryville High School. He and his wife of six years, Maryville College director of news and public information Karen Eldridge, have a 2-year-old son named Robbie and another child due in two weeks.

What Eldridge and his staff teach the Maryville High School boys basketball players has as much to do with attitude and character as skills.

"My No. 1 thing is trying to create better young men to become men in the future. and I think if you teach the do’s and don’ts and rights and wrongs - good basketball goes hand-in-hand with being a good person," he says. "That’s the No. 1 thing we try teach."

Eldridge says he enjoys coaching at a school near his home rather than having to drive to another county. "You always hear great things about Maryville, whether in academics or athletics. The people are great," he says. "They’ve welcomed me with open arms and made me feel I’ve been here a while."

Eldridge says his staff teaches the team members to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. "We’ll play as a team and play hard," he says. "When you play as a team and play hard, good things happen."

Here is Mark Eldridge:

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Eldridge says his most embarrassing moment came as a high school baseball player when he was running in from left field and one of his cleats got hung up in a stirrup of his pants. "I tripped and fell all by myself and landed nose-first at the pitcher’s mound."

Why did you pursue the career you chose?

"Basketball is one of my passions I have in life."

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?

"Bald, of course. I shave my head."

What was your first paying job?

Eldridge says his first paying jobs were mowing yards and hauling hay. "Those were tough jobs."

What’s the best thing about Blount County?

"The people I have had the opportunity to meet are great, and our school is an extension of that, and our kids at school are great young adults."

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Eldridge says he wishes he could slow down and enjoy life more and not be in such a rush to reach goals and just enjoy the journey.

What is your passion?

"The things that make me who I am -- My faith in Jesus Christ, my family and my career. Good food is up there, too."

To what do you attribute your success?

Eldridge says his parents contributed greatly to his success. "My parents always talked about hard work and to do things right."

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?

"Jesus, without question."

What do you hate?

"Tardiness. I think this shows that your time is more (important) than others’ time." Eldridge says there’s no way anyone should have the attitude that their time is more valuable than someone else’s.

What’s your favorite quote?

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

What do you do to relax or for fun?

Eldridge says he enjoys hanging out with his family. "I love to cook, so maybe we’ll have some people over and just hang out."

What is your dream vacation?

"I had the chance to go to Maui. Maybe I would take my family back there and let them enjoy it."

What is your favorite toy?

"Something with cars, and a racetrack with some competition."

Rebels, Tornadoes, Mountaineers or Governors?
"The Rebels."

What is your all-time favorite movie?
" ‘Hoosiers’ is up there, but I always watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Wizard of Oz’ when they’re on."

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
" ‘My Losing Season’ by Pat Conroy. It is awesome."

If you won a big lottery jackpot, what is the charitable donation you would make? How would you splurge?

Eldridge says he would donate to his church for remodeling. "I would definitely help them out, and then I’d probably buy some sweet car."

If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?

Eldridge says he would love to travel back in time to experience the Roaring Twenties.

What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?

Eldridge says he would want to portray Gen. George Patton.

Who has been the best United States president of the last 100 years and why?

"Ronald Reagan. He was not afraid to say what he believed in, and he stood behind his morals."

Coke or Pepsi?


What is your favorite sport and favorite sport’s team?

"I’ve been a huge Steelers fan since the 1970s. I was true to them even during the tough times."

What is your favorite animal?

Eldridge says he loves Basset Hounds.

What is the best present you ever received?

"A three-horsepower motorbike I got when I was a kid. I wrecked it within two minutes."

What’s the best advice your mother ever gave you?

"Put Christ first in everything you do."

Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?

Eldridge says he was paddled in elementary school all the time, usually for talking.

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