MAYNARDVILLE (WATE) – What will the football season look like for Union County High School? Administrators listened to public input Tuesday to make a decision about the future of the team. The principal insists the football program is here to stay, but changes might be made.
Tyler Mink, a senior running back at Union County High School, explained why he’s played football all four years.
“Just the competitiveness, the competition,” said Mink.
With many teammates being younger, Principal Carmen Murphy says it has been more difficult for the players to compete with the other teams in their region.
“We are sending three or four to the hospital on Friday nights for concussion, pretty severe injuries,” said Principal Murphy.
She, along with Athletic Director Shane Brown, are trying to find ways to help keep the students safe and be competitive while rebuilding the team.
“It’s hard to rebuild when you’re in a district with the last four state champions,” said Murphy.
A public meeting was held Tuesday night at the school to get input on what to do. Officials say the school has three options: stay the course, play a junior varsity schedule, or only play an independent schedule. According to Murphy, they wouldn’t play TSSAA district games or in playoffs.
“If we went independent, that means we would schedule 10 games on our own,” said athletic director Shane Brown.
“But that would require us filing an appeal with the TSSAA board of controls to get on their agenda to be heard that we could do a football only independent schedule,” said Murphy.
Parents say the team needs help.
“They need to change something. These kids are getting hurt and and they need to start over gradually,” said Ronnie Jordan.
Mink likes the idea of a possible independent schedule.
“The independent thing would be good for the kids coming up because then they have the ability because it’s people on their own skill level they aren’t playing state contenders every single year so its a chance for them to grow and learn football instead of just getting thrashed around,” said Mink.
They also say they need to hire a long term, stable football coach. In the last eight years, the team has had five coaches. After Tuesday night’s meeting, administrators will meet this week to discuss what to do next.
“Whichever choice they choose, the younger players on our team would be fine with it because they all just love playing football,” said senior running back Shane Brown.
“We just need a coach that’s actually here that’s going to stay and work with us,” said Donny Dawson, a junior left tackle.