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Standing Tall on the Court (Part V): Life after basketball

By Ralphine Major

The coach gave his player a piece of advice: “There is life after basketball.” Tommy Everette, the tall center who played on the successful 1964-65 Gibbs basketball team, remembered the comment made by his high school coach, Bob Dagley. Everette became a college All-American and had an outstanding basketball career at Carson-Newman. Though he was drafted by the Washington Nationals, Everette passed on the opportunity to play pro ball. “We had a young son, and I had a job waiting for me at Gibbs,” he told me. Tommy began a long career in education and never looked back.

Gibbs is where I met Tommy. I was a high school student when he came back to Gibbs, this time as a teacher and coach. I can still see him and Edgar J. House walking up the hall together. Mr. House was the business education teacher and sponsor of the yearbook and had been one of Tommy’s teachers at Gibbs.

After four years as teacher and coach at Gibbs, Tommy became the first administrative intern appointed by the late Dr. Mildred Doyle who was Superintendent of Knox County Schools. He served in the new position at Carter High School under David Wetzel. While there, Everette was called on to fill in one month for long-time Gibbs High School Principal Max Clendenen who suffered a stroke. Tommy’s next appointment was to Halls High School where he served as Assistant Principal under Roy Mullins for five years.

Karns High School Principal was Tommy Everette’s next appointment in the Knox County School system. “We opened up the new school building the year I went to Karns,” Tommy said. Karns was where Everette spent the next twenty years of his career. The school honored their beloved principal by naming the Football and Track Complex after him. In 2000, another honor came Everette’s way when he was named TASSP Principal of the Year. The Karns principal competed nationally with fifty other principals (one from each state) and was awarded a trip to Washington, D.C.

It is interesting to note that the place where Everette ended his career in education is the alma mater of Dagley, his high school coach. Dagley also coached at Karns early in his career. Tommy Everette’s long and successful career with Knox County Schools proved his high school coach right—there is life after basketball! (This is No. 24 in the series on the Eagles’ incredible season; next, a wrap-up on the Everettes.)

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