Longtime Farragut football coach Eddie Courtney announces retirement

By Ken Lay

One of the area’s top high school coaches is calling it a career.

Longtime Farragut High School fixture Eddie Courtney, beloved coach, educator and community leader, announced his retirement from coaching at a press conference early Wednesday morning at the school’s football field house.

Courtney, a staple at Farragut for decades, was the Admirals’ head coach from 1996-2023. He also served as an assistant before becoming head coach.

Courtney, who first arrived at Farragut in 1977, won 204 games and leaves the gridiron as the state’s active leaders in victories as he is fifth among active coaches in victories in the Volunteer State.

He has also won 28 postseason games and guided the Admirals to the Class 5A State Championship in 2016, the school’s lone state football title.

In a highly decorated coaching career, he was named regional Coach of the Year four times and was inducted into the Tennessee Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2021, as part of the Class of 2020 inductees.

A two-time cancer survivor, Courtney was awarded the Greater Knoxville Area Sports Hall of Fame Pat Summitt Ignite Award in 2017.

He has coached six NFL players, six Mr. Football Finalists, more than 200 college signees and 47 all-state standouts.

But that’s not what matters most to the coach, who was the Grand Marshal of the 2023 Town of Farragut Fourth of July Parade.

“I’ve never been one to count wins or how many guys played college football,” Courtney said. “The relationships are what meant more to me than anything.

“The wins, and stuff, (the) championships will come. If you start looking at those things,  and not looking at the human being or individual people, it’s not going to be fun because that stuff is not going to matter to you.”

He said it was time to move on but said he doesn’t have any health problems.

“I feel good,” Courtney said.

Now, it’s time to spend more time with his family,

“I knew that those 12-13-hour days were starting to add up on me a little bit, said Courtney, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday. “I knew it was time to change.”

He’s not leaving the program completely behind. He said that he plans on being around in some capacity.

“I’m going to try to spend time with my family and friends,” Courtney said. “But I’m going to continue to serve and give to this school.”

He cherishes his time with the school, the football team and the Town of Farragut.

“It’s a great program, great community, great everything,” Courtney said. “I can’t complain and I’ve been blessed to be in a super place, and it’s time for somebody to add a few things to it and (bring) more energy to the program.”

Farragut principal, Dr. John Bartlett, said that the school hopes to have its new head football coach in place by March 22.