Hollingsworth Sportsplex officially opens

Donor’s dinner acknowledges supporters, staff, coaches, alumni, and students

was a night of celebration, re ection, and pride but more than anything else it was a night of gratitude.

The donor’s dinner for the Hollingsworth Sportsplex was at the facility on the campus of Clinton High School last Thursday night.

Donors, students, alumni, coaches past and present, as well as city and county of cials and community leaders were in attendance.

Emcee William “Bear” Stephenson, himself a graduate of CHS, opened the evening wearing his letterman jacket.

“We [he and his classmates] had fun and made memories at Clinton High School. That’s what this place will do for these kids,” he said gesturing to the students in the crowd.

CHS Principal Dr. Caleb Tipton and CHS Athletic Director Brad Collette each expressed their gratitude to all of those responsible for helping to get the sportsplex built and what the facility means to both the school and the community.

“The school and the community have a rich tradition of embracing hard work, sacri ce, and big dreams. You dream it up and our teachers, our community will get behind and support it. Tonight is a celebration

of what we can accomplish together,” said Tipton.

“It’s not just a sportsplex. It’s a place where our community can thrive,” Collette said.

E.T. Stamey, who headed up fundraising for the project, said he was part of a committee meeting in August 2016.

“We had a set of blueprints and didn’t know what we were looking at but what we did know was that we didn’t have any money whatsoever,” he said.

Stamey said when he got home following the meeting he received a call from Dr. Tim Parrott, Director of Anderson County Schools, who asked him to consider being chairman of the donations committee. Stamey agreed and the next day met with Tipton and Collette.

“The one thing that came out of that meeting was the hope that the alumni would build the foundation for this building. Little did we know that the alumni of Clinton High School built the foundation, the walls, and the roof for this outstanding facility that we have here,” he said.

Stamey said that Tipton, who had just taken over as principal at CHS, and Collette, who had just started as athletic director, in August 2016, have done a tremendous job both in their

capacities at CHS but also in getting the sportsplex built.

The total donations for the sportsplex to date — including from alumni, industrial and business partners, and politicians (including gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd, who has a banner inside the facility) — is $1.265 million.

“Once the building started, I received a [donation] check from somebody every day,” Stamey said.

He credited Joe Hollingsworth and the construction team at the Hollingsworth Company for their hard work in getting the project started and completed.

Stamey said the original plans called for the shell of a building with 15-feet ceilings at the cost of about $300$400,000.

And then Hollingsworth — who originally was just going to make a donation for the building — got involved in the project after visiting the CHS campus.

“Joe was the captain of the ship the whole time. He said, ‘Let’s move forward and get this done,’” Stamey said.

Tom Wortham, senior vice president of architecture and business development at the Hollingsworth Company, came up with new blueprints for the project.

“All he did was raise the ceiling 40 feet. Now you’ve got weight rooms, coaches of ces, a theater. What Tom did was add zeros [to the nal cost],” Stamey said.

He expressed his gratitude to Hollingsworth and all of the donors.

“Look at what you’ve done and thank you,” Stamey said.

Hollingsworth then took the stage to address those gathered.

“You look around and say, ‘Wow, what a community can do when it puts its heart, soul, and passion behind a project.’ So many people have been thanked but not nearly enough. The passion [of the donors] is just fabulous,” he said.

Hollingsworth said he was asked to be a donor and was offered naming honors.

“And so the quest began,” he said.

“This was a way to recognize my my mom and dad. They were both from Clinton.

Mary and Joseph Sr. moved go Clinton in 1949 and spent their entire adult lives here. They always gave back to their community. On behalf of my family, I am proud to dedicate this facility in their memory,” Hollingsworth said.

A silver plaque with their names inscribed is on a wall inside the sportsplex.

He credited his team for their efforts in the project.

“Every once in a while you hit a real sweet spot and have the best team ever. This team is forever dedicated,” he said.

Hollingsworth recognized Wortham, J.D. Kingston, director of construction; Amanda Hensley, internal operations manager; and Paula McQueen, his executive assistant.

He also recognized the efforts of Tipton, Collette, Stamey, and CHS Head Football Coach Randy McKamey for their efforts in working so well with his team.

“And you have to thank the donors. They are the lifeblood of the project and the community. It’s incredible what people will do if you simply just ask,” Hollingsworth noted.

“This facility takes my breath away — 1,100 kids every year will use this. Not only will they gain con dence, not only will they improve their abilities, but they’ve room to do it, and a purpose to do it. It’s already changed the high school’s perception about it-

self,” he said.

For example, the current

football team has four times the number of kids participating this year.

“Let this facility set the example for what our community can do next and next after that. Our community is too great to dream small dreams,” he said.

Dr. Tim Parrott, Anderson County Director of Schools — and 1979 CHS graduate — thanked the Anderson County Commission and the Anderson County Board of Education for their support of the Hollingsworth Sportsplex.

“They really planted the seed for this project. Everyday, somebody wants something from them and they have to decide what’s best for the community. About three years ago they decided what was best for the community was to put about $200,000 aside for Clinton High School to build this great facility,” Parrott said.

He said three things are required in order to be successful a vision, commitment, and a plan. Parrott said the group who worked on the project were in sync on all three points.

He noted the hard work of project manager Lonnie McKamey.

“In any great project you needs boots on the ground and that was Lonnie McKamey. He was the face of this facility and he did it like he was building his own house. He took that much pride in it. There’s not a lot of people out there who work like that,” Parrott said.

“I appreciate what everyone did but what this project needed was a hometown hero a person who not only saw the big picture but he had a dream and a desire to make it happen. There was no way when Joe Hollingsworth got involved in this project that it was going to fail. I want to thank him for making this dream come true,” he said.

The nal speaker of the evening was Reid Seigmund, University of Tennessee Executive Associate Athletics Director and Chief Operating Of cer.

He complimented CHS and the community for being able to build such a facility.

“This is a spectacular facility and one you should have great pride in,” he said.

Seigmund also said the Hollingsworth Sportsplex will be instrumental in developing well-rounded students and student-athletes for years to come at CHS.

UT Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer was scheduled to have been there but because the Lady Vols were playing that night in the SEC Tournament in Nashville he was unable to attend.

Following the dinner there was an informal reception and an opportunity for guests to tour the facility.