Mark Teague Facing Big Challenges As New Howard Coach

Former East Ridge Assistant Confident His Kids Can Do Well

Monday, August 4, 2014 - by John Hunt

(This is the second in a series of preseason stories on new high school football coaches, or veteran coaches at a different school, and top players in the Chattanooga area)

The halls at Howard High School were relatively quiet Friday afternoon.  There were no students around while faculty members were involved with in-service activities most of the day.

Mark Teague came strolling down the hall with fellow teachers/coaches Walter “Moose” McGary and Alvin Tarver.  He had completed the first week of practice as the Hustlin’ Tigers newest head coach, but you could tell he was ready for more action, despite giving his team the day off.

Such is life for a 44-year-old father of two young adult sons who has his first head coaching position after paying his dues for the past 13 years as an assistant, including last year across town as the defensive coordinator for the East Ridge Pioneers.

Despite this being his first rodeo as the one in charge, he knew what he was getting into and he’s just thankful that he has the chance to make a difference in the lives of young men who desperately need his leadership.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said when asked about his first week on the job.

“It’s been all I thought it would be, but I went into coaching 14 years ago to one day be a head coach with a chance to put my stamp on a program.  This is my golden opportunity,” he said with a proud smile on his face.

Teague has lofty expectations for a team that won only one of 10 games a year ago.  Howard is averaging about 26 players a day, but he knows that others will appear when school starts.  He feels pretty good because the numbers are better than they were in spring, but he has all the confidence in the world that his guys can get the job done.

“We’ve installed a lot in these past four days.  They’ve been a whole lot more receptive than I thought they’d be.  The athletes are here, but kids these days have so many other choices, so you really have to do a good job of recruiting them to play.

“I firmly believe that God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers.  We just have to change the mindset from the past.  We wanted a new look and that’s why we bought new jerseys and new helmets,” Teague continued.

“All I’m looking for is a group of young men who are willing to run through a wall for you.  I’m willing to play anybody if we have committed players like that,” he said, knowing that his team will be on the road for its first four games, including Baylor, Stratford, Loudon and Hixson.

“It’s been a good experience so far, but I knew what I was walking into before I applied for the job.  These kids are no different from those at any other school.  They just want to be loved.  If we can show them that we care about them, they’ll do anything in return.

“All of these young men want to be successful on the football field, but there’s an awful lot of work to be done.  I want to build this program from the ground up.  We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, but we have some big, strong kids.  My goal is to be .500 or better.  I’m realistic, but I don’t want a losing record,” he continued.

“I know that defense wins championships.  I’ve made a name for myself by coaching defense and I know what causes the most problems for opposing defenses.  We’re planning to run a no-huddle offense, but right now, we need more depth on the line and we have to speed things up a bit more,” he said, visualizing in his head what the possibilities could be when his kids reach that point.

“This is my dream job.  God has blessed me with an opportunity.  I just want to accomplish something many people told me I couldn’t do.  There’s a reason I was brought here and I’m excited about it,” he concluded.

Mark Teague has a tremendous challenge in front of him, but he knows that anything is possible with a strong faith and hard work.

He just hopes that the young men on his team will quickly buy into that philosophy.

Wednesday: District 5-AAA Media Day.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


UTC Women's Basketball Rated No. 25 Nationally

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team has been knocking on the door for many years. Someone finally answered. After six weeks of receiving votes and getting as close as seven points on January 5, and just two spots out of the Top 25 for the last two weeks, the Mocs have finally cracked the AP Top 25 with a 25th place ranking. “When a group ... (click for more)

Strong Sauce: Law And Order In The NFL

William Hazlitt, the great English literary critic and essayist, once wrote, “When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.” This certainly seems to be the feeling of those in the NFL front office and its suckling media types, these days. The 2014-2015 National Football League season has been one, not marked by on the field triumph, as ... (click for more)

6,533 Apply For Chattanooga Housing Authority Voucher Program

The Chattanooga Housing Authority closed its Housing Choice Voucher Program application process Monday at 11:59 p.m.  A total of 6,533 people applied. CHA will randomly select 1,000 of those names on Monday, Feb. 2, for the voucher program waiting list.  Anyone who is not selected will need to apply again in the future.  The Housing Choice Voucher program is ... (click for more)

Bradley Commissioners Concerned About Firefighters Leaving For Better-Paying Jobs

The Bradley County Commission agreed during a Monday evening work session that they will have to look into the issue of many county firefighters leaving for better paying jobs elsewhere. The discussion comes after the city's recently announced plan to possibly create their own separate ambulance service.   In surrounding areas, firefighters can make as much as ... (click for more)

We Need The Chattanooga History Center

Having been on several of Dr. Daryl Black's walking tours, I can say that they weren't just informative, but a treat. The downtown, Fort Wood and Ninth Street of yesteryear were brought dramatically to life. We stood on the ground where Sherman had his headquarters (near the Ice Cream Show) and the corner where Bessie Smith sang as a young girl. And we also stood beneath the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Big (Un)Easy: Mardi Gras

Not since Hurricane Katrina has New Orleans had a bigger problem. When over a million visitors flood the city for the annual Mardi Gras bash over the next three weeks, there will be signs all around town and into the French Quarter that blare, “CAUTION: Walk In Large Groups. We (heart symbol) love NOPD. We Just Need More Of Them.” In other words, it appears things are quite unsettled ... (click for more)