Concord Christian started a high school football program four years ago and citing the low number of committed players and concern for student safety, it won’t see a fifth season as the school is dropping the program for the 2018 season.
The small private school in Knoxville made the announcement via press release and the school plans to return football to the junior varsity in the 2019-2020 school year.
“This was not an easy decision, but one that needed to be made.” Concord Christian Head of school Mark Kelly said.
“Although this is a disappointment to our student athletes, coaching staff and football fans, it is ultimately the right decision for Concord and the long-term success of our athletic programs.” Plans are being developed to provide High School Football at the Junior Varsity level for the 2019 – 2020 School year.
The administration shared the information in a meeting with Middle School and High School student athletes and parents recently on Concord’s campus.
The future plan for football at Concord Christian according to Athletic Director Bruce Johnson is to re-focus efforts and strengthen Concord’s Middle School Football Program for the 2018 season.
“We have some young men that have dedicated years of hard work to starting football here at Concord Christian and it is with a heavy heart we make the decision to step back and rebuild. I want to thank our football players for all the sacrifice and to let them know we will always honor them as the pioneers of football at Concord Christian,” Johnson said.
The school announced it would start a football program back in 2013 and the Lions played a junior varsity schedule in 2014 after hiring former Tennessee Titan and Tennessee Volunteer running back Troy Fleming to serve as the school’s head coach.
Despite the hard work from Fleming to try and build the program low numbers have plagued the Lions program from the start as the most players the school had in a given year was 26 back in 2016.
Last season as the Lions went winless at 0-10, they started the season with 21 players but injuries took their toll as they had to forfeit their East region contest with DCA on September 22 as they only had 12 healthy players and they finished the year with 17 total players.
“My four years as Head Football Coach of Concord Christian School has been an honor and privilege. I was given the responsibility to lead young men of character and heart on to the football field on Friday nights and I did that with the upmost joy and happiness. Every young man dreams of one day playing high school football on a competitive level, and these young men lived out their dreams these past four years. Although they faced insurmountable odds, they laid it all on the line for their school,” Fleming said.
In fact, the low numbers were a big contributor to the fact that Concord never won a game on the field losing all six junior varsity contests in 2014, they also finished 0-9 in their first varsity season in 2015, lost all nine games on the field in 2016, although they were awarded a win after The Kings Academy had to forfeit their game after playing an ineligible player to finished 1-8 in 2016 before finished 0-10 last year.
So could the Concord Christian players then transfer to another school to play football and be immediately eligible.
According to TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress the answer is no.
“They would be ineligible twelve months past their last date of participation,” Childress said.
The following four schools are looking for a new head coach: Copper Basin, RePublic, St. George’s and Whites Creek.
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