Taylor steps down after historic run at Karns

By Steve Williams

Brad Taylor, who guided Karns High football to its best back-to-back seasons in school history, announced June 23 he would be stepping down as head coach.

“Thank you to the community and administration for their support,” Taylor said in a statement released by the school. “I have been fortunate to coach with some outstanding people who are not only knowledgeable about the game, but are also great men and mentors to our players.”

Taylor said it felt like the right time to make the career move. He will remain at Karns as a teacher and may explore working in administration in the future.

“While we will miss Coach Taylor on the sidelines, we are excited he will remain on staff and continue making a difference in the classroom,” said Principal Laciee Hatfield.

“I have had the privilege of watching our players grow into not only good football players but also fantastic people,” added Taylor. “I am excited to continue supporting Karns football. I can’t wait to see the awesome things these young men will accomplish next.”

Taylor guided Karns to its first playoff win and a 7-5 record in 2021. Last season, Karns made the playoffs again but lost in the first round and finished 7-4.

“We are grateful for Coach Taylor and his commitment to our football program for the past seven seasons,” said Karns Athletic Director Ben Collins. “Not only has he brought stability and pride to Karns High School football, but he has also positively impacted our student body and community.”

Lee Warren, the current defensive coordinator, will be serving as the interim coach.

Taylor was the head coach at Bearden, his alma mater, for seven years (2007-13) before getting back into coaching at Karns in 2016.

At Bearden, Taylor led the Bulldogs to the state semifinals his first season and his teams ended up making the playoffs six times. His overall record at Bearden was 55-28.


Collier leaves Webb, takes Lenoir City job

Shelley Collier, one of the most successful high school girls basketball coaches in the state, has left Webb School and taken the head coaching job at Lenoir City.

She said it was the hardest decision in her life, but knows it’s the right decision because God has a hand in it.

Collier had been the Lady Spartans’ coach for 25 years and her Division II teams won six state championships and finished state runner-up four times. She coached seven Miss Basketball honorees at Webb, too.

All four of her daughters also played under her at Webb.

A Lake City native, Collier (then Shelley Sexton) played for the Lady Vols under Coach Pat Summitt.

She coached four years at Clinton and five at Karns before going to Webb.

Collier also was an assistant athletic director at Webb.

She replaces Brad Cochran, who left Lenoir City May 21 to take the Concord Christian head job.