As Chris Curtin prepares to begin his second season as Anderson County High School’s boys soccer coach, he expects the Mavericks to compete in District 5-AA.
This, despite not having a senior on the 2023 roster.
“We don’t have any seniors,” Curtin said. “But we have some youthful experience, and the one thing we do have is depth. We have talent and experience on all areas on the pitch and we have some promising freshman talent.
District 5-AA features the Mavericks and Clinton, which both took their share of lumps last season, along with Scott and Kingston.
The Mavs went 1-3 in district matches during the 2022 campaign. But Curtin is looking for things to go a little better in 2023.
When Gene Chunn took the reins of the Clinton High School boys soccer team last season, he knew that his first order of business was to change the culture.
And the Dragons, despite not having a ton of depth, slowly responded and became more competitive as the 2022 season wore on.
Clinton endured growing pains last season as it finished with a 2-12 record. But Chunn said he hopes that those days are behind the Dragons.
The program has 23 payers, including eight returners.
“We have 15 new faces out there and I think we’ll be competitive in our district,” Chunn said.
The coach knows that there’s nothing like time on the pitch to help his side improve.
“We should be stronger offensively this year; Every time we play, we want to get better,” said Chunn, who previously served as the head boys coach at Carter High School and was also an assistant with Powell High’s girls team as the Lady Panthers became a powerhouse program in District 3-AAA.
Oak Ridge High School Head Football Coach Derek Rang speaks to the ORHS Football Booster Club. - Tony Cox
Derek Rang had “officially” been on the job all of seven days when he chose to address the Oak Ridge High School Wildcat Football Boosters Club.
He’s been busy, he noted, but he needed to address a few things.
Rang was hired in January, after Oak Ridge High School officials parted ways with Scott Cummings.
Rang, a graduate of Maryville High School, returns to East Tennessee after spending the 2022 season at Lewis County, where he guided the Panthers to an 11-2 record and an appearance in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
He previously coached at Powell and Gatlinburg-Pittman.
Rang won a Class 1A state championship at Dresden in 2016. He went 32-8 as Dresden’s head coach.
“We want to be the last team standing at the end of the year,” Rang told the Wildcat faithful. “But you have to win the region, you want that home field in the playoffs.”
A big step in being the last team standing, Rang said, was simple: “Defend Blankenship. Defend our home turf.”
Rang said winning the region, securing a home- field playoff advantage, “and beating our rivals,” were high priorities.
“And we want to win those rivalry games,” he said. “Oak Ridge has a number of rivals, and we want to win those games.”
Donnie Green has always embraced a challenge. And he’ll soon embark on a new one.
Green was recently named the first women’s soccer head coach at Roane State Community College, where he will build a program from scratch.
That’s nothing new for the Oak Ridge High School girls soccer coach,as he started the girls program at Knoxville’s Grace Christian Academy several years ago.
“I’ve always liked a challenge and I’ve always liked to start programs,” Green said. “I started my club team and I started the women’s program at Grace.”
While he didn’t build a program from scratch at Oak Ridge, he inherited a Lady Wildcats program that had fallen on hard times. Now, he’s returned ORHS to being a constant competitor in District 3-AAA, a league that includes West High, Powell, Knoxville Central and Karns.
Dragon Andrew Warshaw makes the throw to first in a recent scrimmage. The Dragons opened the 2022-23 season Tuesday night on the road at David Crockett. The Lady Dragons softball team is scheduled to open Wednesday at Hardin Valley Academy. - Tony Cox
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