Howie Sompayrac Steps Down At Notre Dame

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

After 15 years as Notre Dame’s Athletics Director, Howie Sompayrac resigned Tuesday, after a meeting with Irish coaches.

During Mr. Sompayrac’s tenure as A.D., the Fighting Irish athletic teams experienced an unprecedented amount of success.   During his 15 years, Irish teams earned 7 State Championships, 5 State Runner-Up finishes, 51 Individual State Champions (including track relays), and over 50 team State Final Four finishes.  The number of state champions and Final Fours (in the last 15 years) is more than the previous 50 year history of the school. 

“One of the things that I am most proud of is that we have had 13 different sports reach a State Final Four and/or State Championship game in the last 15 years,” said Mr. Sompayrac.  “When I accepted the job 15 years ago, I received a call from Jon Keene (former Irish AD and State Champion baseball coach), and he said, ‘do you want some unsolicited advice?  To be the best AD you can be, you should treat every sport like you have a rising 9th grade son or daughter that is about to play that sport at the school.’  That was some great advice that I have tried to live by the last 15 years.”

Mr. Sompayrac has accepted a job at St. Joseph School in Knoxville, where he will be the director of School Advancement.  His wife, Cathy, has been offered an elementary teaching position there as well.  Our kids (Gigi-9, Luke-6) are so excited that we will be working at their new school.  They are even more excited that they will moving to the town with most of their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  Gigi asked me the other day, “so after school, can we go straight to the gym and play basketball?”  I said,  (when teams aren’t practicing)

One day when I was driving home after a long workday last year, I heard one of those John Tesh “factoids,” or as he calls it “intelligence for your life.”  He said elderly people were polled nationwide and asked several survey questions.  For one of the questions, they all had the similar answers.  The question was, “Looking back at your life, do you have any regrets, or would you do anything differently?”  The #1 answer, by far, was “I would spend more time with my family.

"As Cathy and I prayed about this, it was abundantly clear that this was not only a great opportunity for us professionally, but also for our family.  While I have enjoyed every bit of my journey at ND, I have had to sacrifice time with Cathy and the kids.  Needless to say, we are both excited and humbled to have been given this opportunity.  We will be working at St. Joseph’s, which is a school that is growing and on the move.  They have recently built a new gym and they are planning on breaking ground soon on a new middle school wing for the school.  The north Knoxville area is growing, and we are excited to be a part of this school community at such an exciting time.

"The hardest part about leaving will be that the friends and the relationships we have built.  And the student-athletes at Notre Dame are like our extended family.  A big part of my heart will always remain at ND.  While our location may be changing, our love and support for this great place will never change." 


Rhea County Picked To Win Region 4-5A

Rhea County's Golden Eagles have been picked to win the Region 4-5A championship in Murphy Fair's Tennessee High School Football magazine. Coach Mark Pemberton has led the Eagles to a state quarterfinal and two semifinals in his three years as head coach. Senior Mason Stephenson rushed for more than 1,400 yards last year and Eddie Bice ran for another 1,200. Ooltewah ... (click for more)

Wolcott Earns Medalist Honors In State Match Play

Ben Wolcott Shot 70 Friday and earned the medalist honors in the 16th Tennessee Match Play Championship at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay. Thomas Chip from Knoxville finished as the No. 2 seed with a total of 135. The round of 16 and quarterfinals will be played on Saturday with the semifinals and final on Sunday. Tim Jackson took the No. 1 seeding in the Senior Division. ... (click for more)

Man, 28, Shot And Killed In East Chattanooga

A 28-year-old man was shot and killed in East Chattanooga early Friday morning. The victim was identified as Jeremy Clark, a brother of House candidate Dennis Clark. Dennis Clark said, "Jeremy, a beloved son, my younger brother and dear friend to many, was taken from us too soon. The pain from our sudden and tragic loss is Indescribable. He was a compassionate and fun-loving ... (click for more)

Michael Ford Sentenced To More Than 13 Years In Prison On Drug Charges

Michael Shawn Ford has been sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison on drug charges. On April 20, 2105, Ford was arrested at his house in East Ridge. Police found him hiding in the closet with a laundry bag which contained a loaded pistol and 7.9 grams of crystal meth. Officers said that two backpacks were found in the same bedroom, one with 257.3 grams of crystal meth ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Don’t Kick A Man’s Neck

From the minute my brothers and I each became cognizant, my dad started teaching us the rules of becoming a man. Dad was from deep in Mississippi and he’d been taught a lot of life’s secrets from his father. These lessons have been passed for generations and, the older I have become, I’m convinced a lot of them were borne from The Sermon on the Mount. Our favorite, back in the ... (click for more)