By Steve Williams
South-Doyle’s Clark Duncan ranks No. 2 on the local list of high school head football coaches with 191 wins and 145 losses.
Duncan, who is heading into his 30th season of coaching, trails only Webb School’s David Meske in wins on the local scene. Meske’s 36-year record is 275-142.
Duncan, a former Unicoi County High star who went on to play at Tennessee, was an assistant at Fulton for five years before becoming head coach at Powell in 1986. He had a 118-76 record in his 17 seasons with the Panthers, including a state runner-up showing in 1991.
After the 2002 season, Duncan became assistant principal and athletic director at South-Doyle and was out of coaching for six years. With the Cherokees struggling in football in the late 2000s, Duncan couldn’t find anyone who wanted the job, so he took it himself in 2009 and made it a “personal” agenda to turn the program around. And that he did, after going 0-10 and 1-9 the first two years.
He’s now 73-69 in his 12 years at South-Doyle and had the Cherokees one win away from a state title berth just last season.
Farragut Coach Eddie Courtney is No. 3 on the list with a 185-105 record, including a state championship in 2016, in his 25 years in charge of the Admirals’ program.
Scott Cummings is No. 4 with a 138-85 record. He had a 101-58 worksheet in his 13 years at West and led the Rebels to back-to-back state title appearances and the gold ball in 2014 before leaving to take the Cleveland job. He was 22-21 in his four seasons with the Blue Raiders and is now back in Knoxville and starting his third year at Halls.
Lamar Brown, who is beginning his fifth season at West, is No. 5 with a 106-50 worksheet. He’s had a 35-16 record with the Rebels, after going 71-34 in his nine seasons at Morristown West.
No. 6 Matt Lowe compiled a 49-23 record in his first stint at Powell, including 14 straight wins before falling to Henry County 17-14 in the 2011 state finals. After not coaching in 2012, Lowe went 30-25 in his five years at The King’s Academy before returning to Powell. His 23-12 mark in his second go-around with his alma mater puts his 14-year overall record at 102-60.
Fulton’s Rob Black is No. 7 on the list with a 10-year record of 95-32 and he most likely will hit the century mark in wins this season. His .748 winning percentage and three state championships also stand out on his resume.