By Crystal Burns
The Trenton Special School District board pulled a fast one on Director of Schools Tim Haney at their Nov. 3 meeting.
The board provided Haney with a phony agenda so he wouldn’t see the item titled “Approval of Recognition Program Nomination Form.” As Clint Hickerson addressed his fellow board members, Katie Dinwiddie provided Haney with a copy of the surprise agenda item.
Hickerson asked that the board name the new indoor practice facility being built on the Peabody campus after Haney, a 31-year veteran of TSSD who has served as teacher, football coach, Trenton Elementary and Peabody principal, and now director of schools. The board was unanimous in its decision to bestow the honor.
“He truly cares about the kids and making the school district a better place,” Hickerson said.
Already overcome with emotion, Haney was in for an additional shock when his wife, two children, mother, and sister walked into the Peabody technology lab to witness the occasion.
“I feel doubly blessed that we’re having to wear masks,” Haney would later joke. “I’m very humbled and very surprised.”
Each board member spoke to Haney’s service to the district.
“You’ve given your whole career to Trenton Special School District, and you could’ve gone back to Milan,” said Dr. Mark Harper, board chairman. “You could’ve gone anywhere, and you gave all your career to us.”
Justin Weaver said there’s no doubt Haney has left his mark on the district, and Dinwiddie, a former teacher in the district, said it’s easy to see that Haney loves Trenton students.
Dee Ann McEwen noted that the district has criterion for naming its facilities and said Haney meets the characteristics of demonstrating good moral character and citizenship, distinguishing himself with accomplishments that are considered exemplary by contemporaries in their field of endeavor, and has been recognized and/or honored for his achievements at a regional, national, or international level.
One box Haney can’t check is “shall have attended Peabody High School.” He is a 1978 graduate of Milan High School, but the recognition guidelines allow for “alumni or other individuals who have contributed unusual monetary gifts or other resources that enable the staff and administration of Peabody High School to provide an enhanced educational or athletic experience for current and future students of the school.”
Hickerson said that Haney is known as the “general manager” of the Golden Tide football program for his leadership and facility upgrades made during his tenure. As coach, Haney compiled on overall record of 88-77 in his 15 years at the helm. He led Peabody to its first ever state championship appearance in 1991 and won two district titles. His teams qualified for the playoffs 11 times and made it to at least to the second round of the postseason five times.
“I am appreciative and humbled by the act,” Haney said after the meeting. “Actually, I don’t remember a time in which I felt more humbled. I’d like to thank each school board member and anyone else who shared a role in it. The emotion evoked by this was overwhelming. I have spent my professional life trying to make sure that whatever I was charged with running was left better than I found it. It feels redemptive in a way to see that recognized. I feel very blessed.”
Haney and his wife Cindy, a teaching assistant at Trenton Elementary, are the parents of Elizabeth, a Peabody alumnus, and Gunner, a Peabody sophomore.
Haney is the son of Peggy and the late Bill Haney of Milan. His father earned membership in four sports halls of fame – Gibson County in 1995, TSSAA in 1994, Tennessee in 1996, and the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1996. A legendary broadcaster, Bill Haney created the Tennessee Basketball State Network and the UT Martin State Network. He called an estimated 1,500 high school baseball, basketball, and football games during his 38-year career covering TSSAA sports. In 2010, the City of Milan named the press box at Johnnie Hale Stadium for Bill Haney.
Peggy Haney was inducted into the Gibson County Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 in recognition of her decades of keeping score for Milan basketball teams and helping her husband on broadcasts. The press box at the Mayo-Wheeler Gymnasium at Milan High School is named in her honor.