Tummons, Woodard accept boys and girls positions
Hendersonville boys and girls soccer will be under new leadership starting next season as former Commando assistants Alex Tummons and Devin Woodard accepted the positions to replace longtime coach Russ Plummer. Tummons will coach the boys, while Woodard will coach the girls.
Hendersonville Principal Bob Cotter announced Tuesday that the time was right to split the responsibilities between two coaches.
“They both understand the meaning and the value to the Commando soccer program,” he said. “They both have the desire to continue the traditions Coach Plummer built and feel like they are best suited to carry the torch into the next generation of Commando soccer.”
Plummer, who began coaching both the girls and boys teams at Hendersonville High School in 1987, announced his decision to step down last fall. He finished his career with 882 combined victories (443 boys, 439 girls), three boys state championships (1989, 1998, 2010), three boys runners-up finishes (1990, 2005, 2006) and one girls runners-up finishes (2003).
“As a coach, I had always felt like it was important to go out when I wanted to go out,” Plummer told Main Street Preps in September 2019. “I did not want to stick around too long, and I did not want the game to pass me by; I have seen that happen too many times. I will miss it every day. Everything just fell into place, and it is something that I felt like I needed to do.”
Tummons to lead Commando boys
Alex Tummons was a four-year member of the Commando soccer team upon graduation in 2009. Following his time playing for Plummer, Tummons played two years of collegiate soccer at Belmont University before transferring to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to finish his undergraduate degree. Upon earning a double major in History and Political Science with a minor in English and Secondary Education, Tummons earned his Masters in Secondary Education in 2015.
He has spent the last five years working under Plummer at Hendersonville.
“I always wanted to come back and help the soccer program at Hendersonville any way that I could,” Tummons said. “It was always a dream opportunity for me to come back and teach here, and I think that says a lot about Coach Plummer. Coming back allowed me to learn under the best coach I have ever been around.”
Tummons has to follow a legend not only in the soccer community but in the coaching profession.
“I have no worries replacing Coach Plummer,” Tummons said. “I see it the opposite way. I have confidence in myself, and if you understood the foundation laid here, I think anyone would jump at this opportunity. (Hendersonville) is my dream job and where I want to be.”
The former Commando standout will get an opportunity to show what his program will look like starting next spring.
“We will have the same characteristics of toughness you already see,” he said. “We will sacrifice for each other, and we will be mentally and physically strong. Our tactics will depend on personnel, but we will always be ready.”
The last five years have been a learning opportunity for Tummons. He added that he feels confident because Coach Plummer has prepared him.
“I have developed an understanding that patience and teaching are the most important tools for a coach,” he said. “His (Plummer) consistency and the emphasis on details have shaped the program to what it is, and that will benefit me moving forward.”
Woodard to lead Lady Commandos
Devin Woodard was a four-year member of the Lady Commando soccer team upon graduation in 2005. Following her time at HHS, Woodard graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2009 with a degree in Business Administration.
Her senior year at MTSU, she returned to her alma mater to coach alongside Russ Plummer on both the boys and girls side.
“I think it is a testament to Coach Plummer when you see so many alumni come back,” Woodard said. “My best memories of growing up were because of HHS. I remember being a ballgirl at the games and dreaming of playing one day.”
Woodard also spent 2009-16 with the Tennessee State Soccer Association coaching Olympic Development Program athletes.
“I think for anyone, it is hard to think of anyone other than Coach Plummer leading the soccer program,” Woodard said. “Over 33 years he built up so much that I think having someone (to replace him) that understands that tradition and the family is important. Being with him for ten years with both boys and girls, I learned from the best. I knew when he stepped down, it was about the program and making sure that what he built stayed intact, and that was my leading drive to want to be the head coach. I know how much I have learned from him, and I want to carry that on.”
Woodard will keep core values the program stands for toughness and family, but she will have to leave her mark on the program.
“I am not Coach Plummer, nor could I ever be,” she said. “You cannot say you have big shoes to fill because there is no way to fill those shoes, but our programs can be similar. Will there be differences? Yes. Nevertheless, we will keep the tradition we are known for.”
Woodard is already getting prepared for her first season and hopes that this summer the girls will get in a full training and preseason.
“Ideally, we are hopeful of getting going in June,” she said. “But no matter when we can get back out, we will be ready. Even if they give us just a couple weeks of preseason, that will still be beneficial.”
No matter when the girls start, Woodard is encouraged because the culture of working hard and sacrificing for your teammate is already in place.
“Both our boys and our girls do a good job on their own of coming in ready,” she said. “It is encouraging to know that if we put the expectations out there for the girls, they will do what they need to do (to be ready).”