By Steve Williams
Traditionally, The Knoxville Focus likes to check with local head football coaches to see what they will be doing during the annual TSSAA Dead Period before preseason practice really cranks up.
For many, it’s a special time of the year to spend with the family.
With the coronavirus pandemic, would this year be different?
Will they have a vacation or ‘staycation’ during the Dead Period (June 22 through July 5)?
As for the eight head coaches we heard back from last week, the results of that question ended in a tie.
Three coaches were already in Florida or getting ready to head that way and one – CAK’s Travis Mozingo – said he would be “hitting the road” in a week on a trip out West.
South-Doyle Coach Clark Duncan was in Santa Rosa, Fla., with his family members, including grandson Shep Hennigan, who turned 2 Thursday.
Fulton Coach Rob Black and his family went to Panama City Beach the first week.
Catholic Coach Steve Matthews and his family planned to leave Wednesday morning for St. George Island, Fla., and return today. “After that I will start preparing for fall camp,” he said.
The other four coaches chose to stay close to home.
“The Dead Period is such an important time for me to have extra time to spend with my family,” said new Carter Coach Justin Pressley. “I will spend the entire dead period with my wife Jessica and 2-year-old son Duke. Typically, we take our family vacation at this time, but this year with COVID-19, we have decided to stay around town and within our bubble of people in our family.
“We will spend time with our nieces and nephews and take day trips … spending time on the lake or at the pool or going camping. It’s a great time to relax and refresh our minds for the commitment and time away from our families during the season.”
Nick Craney, new Central head coach, had a special reason to have a ‘staycation.’
“My wife, Brooke, is seven months pregnant and in a high risk category for the coronavirus, so we have been encouraged not to take any trips,” he said.
“We are hanging out at home, swimming in our pool with our almost 4-year-old daughter Lilly and getting the nursery and our home ready for our new daughter, Carolina Jane.”
Grace Christian Coach Rusty Bradley said: “I am staying in Knoxville with family and not traveling. Normally, we go somewhere for two or three days but not this year. I would rather just stay home.”
Eddie Courtney, Farragut’s veteran head coach, seemed to be tempted by the sand and ocean, but renovation projects won out.
“As much as I would love to go to the beach, I will ‘staycation’ this dead period,” he said. “I will continue to do some renovations at home and school.
“As a staff, we have designed three different types of practice schedules for when we come back. We want to be prepared for what decisions that will be made concerning football. We are excited about getting back and preparing for this season.”