Austin-East football coach rewarding players for good grades

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The high school football season is right around the corner in East Tennessee.

Austin-East’s head coach is taking a unique approach with him into what will be his fifth season with the Roadrunners.

As a way to motivate his athletes into better students, Coach Jeff Phillips says players will only get their names on the back of their jerseys this fall if they have at least a 3.0 GPA.

“We’re hoping that maybe this is an incentive for having a 3.0,” Phillips said. “We feel like, in sports, you don’t really get an incentive for having good academics. Everyone gets so caught up on whether a kid scores touchdowns and things like that and this is a way for us to recognize academics through sports.”

Austin-East is coming off its first trip to the state semifinal since 2011. While the Roadrunners are looking to build off the 12-2 record in 2016, you won’t see all players’ names on their jerseys.

“We want to make sure that this time, this year, that everybody understands that,” Phillips said. “We have 20 guys on our team with a 3.0 GPA and this is a way we can recognize them.”

Austin-East opens the season Aug. 18 on the road at Gibbs.

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