For more than three decades Andy Gilley has been a fixture at one Hendersonville park or another – first as a player, and most recently as a coach at Hendersonville High School.
A change of scenery is not likely anytime soon though, as the 41-year-old has been named the city’s new Director of Parks and Recreation.
Hendersonville Mayor Jamie Clary confirmed the hire on Tuesday.
Following the resignation of former Parks Director Brandon Rogers earlier this year, Clary appointed long-time former director Dave LeMarbre as interim director in March.
He then asked the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to help select qualified candidates for the position. MTAS narrowed the list of more than a dozen candidates to four finalists that included Gilley.
Other candidates included Mike Gorham, outdoor recreation director at Fort Campbell, Ky., Edward Smith, executive director of the Madison County Parks and Recreation department and Brad Tammen, former general manager with the Nashville Sounds who currently works with MTSU athletics.
“We needed somebody who could manage a staff and somebody who’s familiar with parks and recreation,” said Clary. “I wanted to make sure we got a good manager and someone who understands parks, and MTAS helped us determine who those candidates were.”
Clary said he also sought input from members of the city’s parks department and parks board before personally interviewing each candidate and making a final decision.
“I looked over their backgrounds and decided that Andy Gilley is our best choice,” he said. “We had four good candidates and all of them would have done a good job.”
A 1995 graduate of Beech High School, Gilley graduated from MTSU in 2001 with a major in business management. He was hired the same year at HHS as a business teacher. Gilley has been the assistant head baseball coach at the school since 2003. He’s been the head golf coach since 2006, and also serves as assistant athletic director.
Gilley says he’s been involved with the parks department in one form or another since the age of four when he started playing tee-ball and soccer.
“That job, to me, represents one of the best opportunities to serve the city,” said Gilley, who is also a city alderman representing Ward 4.
“It’s probably one of the only jobs I would leave HHS for,” he added. “I’ve never wanted to leave here because it’s home, but this is too good of an opportunity.”
Gilley will head a staff of seven administrative employees overseeing five city parks. He said he’ll focus on building relationships throughout the community and encourage his department to continue working as a team with local groups including the Sumner County school district which shares facilities with the city’s parks department.
“My biggest thing is building relationships that will help us move forward and continue to keep our parks one of the shining things in our city,” he said. “Our parks are by far one of our best assets.”
LeMarbre, who headed the parks department for 23 years before retiring in 2015, has known Gilley since he was a teenager.
“I think he’ll do a great job,” he said. “He cares about the parks and he cares about the people.”
Gilley was elected a city alderman in 2016 by defeating incumbent Don Ames. He’ll have to resign that seat once the board confirms his appointment – most likely at the next Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Aug. 14.
According to the city charter, if a vacancy on BOMA occurs more than 20 days before the qualifying deadline, the seat has to go on the upcoming election ballot. With the qualifying deadline on August 16, that deadline has already passed, meaning board members will appoint Gilley’s replacement. That person will serve until the November 2020 general election.
Gilley says he’ll start his new position after HHS principal Bob Cotter can find a replacement for his teaching position – likely by the end of August.