Coach Jake Page bids a fond farewell to Highlands

Highlands School Coach Jake Page will be moving on to his next challenge this summer after accepting a position as Head Boys Basketball Coach at Seminole County High School in Donalsonville, Ga. where he grew up (southwest corner of Georgia).

Page spent two years at Highlands School as a Physical Education Teacher for grades 3-8, and also coached Middle School Soccer, Middle School Track, and Varsity Girls Basketball.

Coach Jake Page argues with a referee during a game on the road against Smokey Mountain on Dec. 29, 2018. Read full article HERE.

“There are so many memories that I have made here in Highlands just in my 2 years here,” said Page. “I remember after we won the championship and I went and sat on the bench while the girls were at mid-court celebrating and I just sat there watching them and just seeing the joy on their faces and seeing their hard work pay off is something that I will never forget.”

Coach Jake Page comforts Highlands Senior Bailey Schmitt when she accidentally shot the ball at the wrong basket while playing against Blue Ridge Early College on February 14, 2020. Read full article HERE.

Page did not come to the decision to leave Highlands lightly, but it’s difficult to say no to a combination of moving closer to family down in Georgia and career advancement.

Coach Jake Page advises Hayley Borino at a home game against Murphy on Dec. 20, 2019. Read full article HERE.

“For those that know me, know that my family is very important to me, so that was a big reason,” he said. “It was also an opportunity to advance my career and accept a new challenge. It was one of the hardest decisions that I have made because of leaving such a great team and great community, but God opened up this door for me and I’ve got faith that he is in control and won’t give me anything that I can’t handle.”

Page said there are many things he will miss, especially bus rides, team gatherings, basketball camps, etc., but they will be times he will always remember.

An enthusiastic Coach Jake Page offers guidance from the sidelines when Highlands defeated Tallulah Falls on November 18, 2019. Read full article HERE.

“I will miss my players,” said Page. “They are such great young ladies and I am dang proud to have been their coach.  These girls really bought into what we were trying to do and it showed with the success that we had this year. We became a family and I will forever be grateful that I had the opportunity to coach these girls and be a part of their lives. Seeing them come together this year and winning both the regular season and the conference tournament and making the run in the playoffs is something that was very special.”

Highlands Athletic Director Brett Lamb said Page will be sorely missed. He said Page was a person that was born to coach.

Highlands beats Blue Ridge Early College to win the Little Smoky Mountain Conference tournament on Feb. 19, 2019 at home. Read full article HERE.

From a young age, Page was with his dad on the sidelines learning the ropes of becoming a coach. From Lamb’s perspective as AD, he was the ideal coach who was and is willing to help the school, programs, community, and especially the students in any way he can. He described Page as a true team player.

“It is with mixed emotions to see him go,” said Lamb. “I’m happy for him that he will be closer to his family with his new job. Hate to see him go. He was fitting in great and making a huge difference in our school and on the basketball court with the girls. I know he will do great no matter where he goes.”

Coach Jake Page when Highlands won the regular season conference championship on the road against Nantahala on Feb. 4, 2020. Read full article HERE.

Lamb added an example of how easy-going Page is from when they brought him to an annual summer golf outing and he showed up wearing a red polo golf shirt. Another coach dubbed him “Jake from State Farm,” and he laughed it off and fit right in with the staff.

Coach Jake Page gives direction from the sidelines in the first round of the state playoffs against Bessemer City on Feb. 25, 2020. Read full article HERE.

Page said it’s not only difficult leaving staff and students, but the community.

“It’s going to the Ugly Dog after a big win and celebrating with the community and talking about the game,” said Page. “It’s a community coming together to support the student athletes, even if they don’t have a child playing. Those are things that make this small town special. Highlander Pride is real and this community shows it better than anyone.”

Coach Jake Page reacts to a disagreeable call by the referee during Highlands JV girls loss against Cherokee in the LSMC championship on February 19, 2020. Read full article HERE.

Page expects to move down to Georgia this summer, but schedules are tentative with the COVID-19 pandemic. Lamb said Highlands School is in the process of hiring and new PE Teacher and will see if the hired candidate has an interest in coaching, but no timetable has been set.

Coach Jake Page when Highlands beat HIwassee Dam on December 6, 2019. Read full article HERE.

A message from Coach Jake Page

I would really like to give a big thanks to the administration for being so supportive of me these past two years and giving me a chance up here. I would like to give a big thanks to Coach Lamb. I will forever be thankful for the chance that I had to work with Coach Lamb and learn from him these past two years. He does so much for this school that goes unnoticed and the Highlands community should be thankful that they have him. I would also like to thank my assistant coaches for their help, with Coach Janice Raby the whole two years I was here, and Coach Logan James this past year. Coach Janice was a huge part of our success these past two years. Words can’t express how thankful I am that she was here and helped me with coaching these teams. Finally, I would like to thank my players. They became my family and I love all of them. I hope they were able to take some of the lessons that I taught them and carry it on over to not just to the basketball court, but also in life. They will always have a special part in my heart, and I will always cherish the relationships we have built.

Highlands girls varsity basketball team at the Athletic Banquet on May 6, 2019. Read full article HERE.

Pictured at the top of the article is Coach Jake Page in a team huddle during Highlands’ loss to Smokey Mountain on the road in December 2018. Read full article HERE.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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