Nine New Area Coaches Ready For Grid Season

Friday, August 8, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

The Chattanooga and Sequatchie Valley Football Jamborees kick off the prep football season next weekend. Four of the nine new area coaches will have their teams in action at Finley Stadium and  three more will have teams in the Sequatchie Valley Jamboree at Whitwell HS on Friday.

Below are brief coaches bios and their comments for the upcoming season.

* Chattanooga Central – Ryan Mallory (assistant at Central in 2013)

Chattanooga Jamboree: Saturday, August 16 – 8:30 p.m. vs. East Hamilton

Season Opener: August 22 - Franklin County

High School: Seattle (Wash.) O’Dea HS

College: Memphis State

(coach Mallory did not submit comments on the questionnaire)

* Chattanooga Christian – Rob Spence

Sequatchie Valley Jamboree: Friday, August 15 – vs. Marion County & Whitwell

Season Opener: August 22 – Grace Baptist

Age: 55

High School: St. Andrew’s School (Middletown, Del.)

College: Iona College, ’81 ... Master’s Degree in Education (Iona ’90)

(played football in HS and college)

Excitement about CCS: “I am excited about developing the football program but more importantly growing young men to serve Christ in the world beyond CCS ... The nature of high school football demands that players develop an unselfish and "others first" mentality … the key is for them to experience the joy of playing on a team committed to a powerful life changing covenant ... I am excited to see how close this team can grow as we compete in such a demanding district.”

Challenges in Your First Year: “The biggest challenge we face is simply lack of depth ... each individual that puts on a uniform must fulfill his role as we progress through the season ... the CCS team will also need to develop depth …everyone must learn to contribute and bring all their talents to the field of competition if we are to experience improvement.”

Strengths of the Program:  The strength of our program will be our level of commitment to each other and our "buy-in" to the core philosophies ... from a purely football point of view, our strength on offense will be returning starters on offense at QB/TB and WR ... we also have very bright young men who will "know their business" on Friday Night when they compete.”

* Heritage High School – E.K. Slaughter (head coach at Red Bank in 2013)

Season Opener: Aug. 29 at Ringgold 

Age: 37

High School: Notre Dame HS, ‘95

College: UTC, 2000

Excitement about Heritage Football: ‘‘The high caliber students and coaches I get to work with on a daily basis.”

Challenges in Your First Year: “Installing a new offense and defense and learning the new schedule.”

Strengths of the Program: “Great kids and coaches who are going to work hard and be fun to be around.”

* Hixson High School - Dan Duff (he also coached at Hixson, 1996-2001)

Chattanooga Jamboree: August 16 – 8 p.m. vs. Walker Valley

Season Opener:  August 22 at Soddy Daisy

Age: 51 … High School: Carver HS ’80 (Columbus, Ga.)

College: Ga. Southwestern, ‘84

Excitement about Hixson Football: “Hixson is the best place I have coached at … I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to come back and coach at Hixson.”

Challenges in Your First Year: “The first year is always a year of transition … biggest challenge is to understand the system that we are implementing and have everyone on the same page. We have already made great strides and the players are responding well.”

Strengths of the Program: “Out offensive and defensive lines.”

 

* Howard HS – Mark Teague (East Ridge assistant coach in 2013)

Chattanooga Jamboree: August 15 – 8 p.m. vs. Bradley Central

Season Opener: August 22 at Baylor

Age: 44

High School: Northview HS, 1988 (Dothan, Ala.)

College: Troy Univ., 1992 (Ala.)

Excitement about Coaching Howard Football?  The unique challenge of coaching at the oldest and arguably the most tradition-rich high school in Chattanooga.

Challenges in Your First Year: Restoring the pride and tradition of a school with a long, storied history ... having the student-athletes take ownership in their school and their team ... instilling in the student-athletes the importance of dedication to their craft that will enable them to become trendsetters for the Howard Tigers going forward into the future of this program

Strengths of the Program:Our underclassmen ... we have a VERY solid core of underclassmen that have shown a lot of dedication and commitment to our offseason strength and conditioning program ... they have bought into what it will take to be successful and understand that they have the ability to begin a new legacy in the storied history of Howard Tiger football.

* Marion County HS – Ricky Ross (Def. Coordinator, Mary Parsons HS (Ga.) in 2013)

Sequatchie Valley Jamboree: August 15 vs. Chattanooga Christian and South Pittsburg

Season Opener: Thursday, August 21 – home vs. Grundy County

Age: 40

High School: Landmark Christian, 1992 (Fairburn, Ga.)

College: Cumberland Univ. (Tenn.), 1999

(played football and baseball in high school and college)

Excitement about Marion County Football: “I enjoy how our players like to work hard and also the great tradition that our program has.”

Challenges in Your First Year: ‘‘We couldn't hold spring practice (due to penalties on past coaching staff) … it is also a challenge being new to Tennessee ... our offense and defense is a completely new system to our players.”

Strengths of the Program: “the tradition of the program and we have several returning players with experience.”

* Meigs County – Jason Fitzgerald (head coach at Hixson in 2013)

Season Opener: Aug. 29 - Sweetwater

Age: 42

High School: Rhea County, 1989

College: Auburn Univ., 1994

(played football in HS and college)

Excitement about Meigs County Football
: “The community excites me … to be able to coach at Meigs County where Friday nights are special!!” … “The commitment by the administration, and also the hard work by the young men on the team.”

Challenges in Your First Year: “The challenge is making the players believe they can be and will be successful ... when you have won only three games in the last two years the first thing that has to be done is the changing of the mindset ... losing is not acceptable ... not playing 48 minutes as hard as you can is not acceptable!!”

* Red Bank – Chad Grabowski (head coach in Fla. In 2013)

Chattanooga Jamboree: August 15 – 9:30 p.m. vs. McMinn County

Season Opener: August 22 – at Boyd Buchanan

Age: 37

High School: Tavares HS (Fla.), 1996

College: Valdosta (Ga.) State, 2001

Excitement about Red Bank Football: “I am excited about how hard the kids work as well as the size and talent that is at Red Bank ... I have a bigger and faster team then I had in Florida.  The community is also a lot more involved in the program and they are more into football up here than down in Florida ... the support I have received here at Red Bank has been unbelievable and it has made the move very easy ...  I am excited to get Red Bank Football back to winning a lot of games and championships.”

Challenges in Your First Year: “Biggest challenge is to get the players to believe that they can win even if things don’t go right at times ... this group has had three coaches in four years so they have to trust us to get them in the right positions to be successful … the spring went really well and that makes for a promising season.”

Strengths of the Program: “The size and speed of the whole team is a strength … they are also hungry to win and have been working very hard to get Red Bank Football back to championship form.”

* Whitwell High School – R.C. Helton (head coach in Arizona in 2013)

Sequatchie Valley Jamboree: August 15 – vs. Sequatchie Co. and Chattanooga Christian

Season Opener: August 22 at Mt. Pleasant

Age: 39

High School: East Ridge, 1983

Excitement about Whitwell Football: "I am excited about this community which cares about its football program and the family type atmosphere here at Whitwell … Last year's team won its final four games and with a veteran group back for this fall we should be in good shape."

Challenges in Your First Year: “I know my first job is to establish trust in the kids and the community that I plan to be here for a very long time ... we also have to work on the players' mentality to make sure they realize they can compete and win ... It's a process that I'm looking forward to.”

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


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