A month ago, tnhighschoolfootball.com broke a story that Jackson-Madison school system was going to renovated and reopen Jackson Central Merry high school starting in the 2021-2022 school year.
JCM closed its doors in 2016 after the school opened in 1970 and had athletic success in all sports.
Now a month later, the school system has announced that former JCM Alum Erit Turner will lead the Cougar program going forward as head football coach and director of football operations.
“Coach Turner’s passion for the Cougar program was evident. He has demonstrated a sense of character and I believe young men will be able to look as a role model,” Madison County Superintendent Marlon King said.
The Cougars will play a junior varsity schedule the first two years as the school will have enrollment numbers of around 400 which would make them a Class 2A school.
Turner, a 2005 JCM graduate has spent the last four seasons at USJ and served as the Bruin defensive coordinator the last two seasons.
USJ has finished runner up to Division II-A champion Davidson Academy the last two seasons as the Bruins finished with a combined two-year record of 20-7.
Before coming to USJ, Turner spent several seasons as the defensive line coach at Jackson North Side.
“I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to have a positive influence on the city that helped mold me,” Turner said.
The last JCM head coach was Orentheus Taylor who headed the program for three years (2013-15) and the Cougars went winless at 0-10 in their last season in 2015.
Since the school closed its doors in 2016, the students went to other Jackson high Schools and have since went to the Jackson Central Merry Early College High School and those students wanting to play football have been co-oping with Jackson North Side.
Jackson Central Merry High school’s first school year began in 1970 as two schools in Jackson High and Merry High were consolidated into Jackson Central Merry and the Cougars were successful on the football field.
The Cougars made 20 playoff appearances (1976, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1991 in AAA, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002 in 5A, 2003, 2004 and 2005 in 4A and 2012 and 2013 in 3A) and had an overall 22-20 playoff record.
The Cougars were the 1976 and 1979 Class AAA runner ups losing to Bradley Central in 1976 and Oak Ridge in 1979.
Besides the two runner-up appearances, the Cougars made the 5A Semifinals in 1994 and three Quarterfinal appearances in 2002 in 5A and 2003 and 2005 in 4A.
Currently seven schools in Brainerd, Cumberland Gap, Hunters Lane, John Overton, KIPP Academy, Northwest and South Pittsburg are looking for a head coach.
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