Eddie Courtney Steps Down at Farragut

By Mark Nagi

Since 1996, one man has been leading the Farragut High School football program. But after 204 victories, four region titles and a state championship, Eddie Courtney has made the decision to retire from coaching the Admirals.

“I started thinking about the future,” said Courtney. “I’ve gotta be the first one here and the last one to leave. That’s the way I did things every day.  And I started thinking about those 11, 12, 13-hour days… even at this time of year.   I just can’t commit to that. These kids deserve more than that.  This is how I want to go out and this is who I am.”

He added, “Everything is in place to continue to be good.  I’ve been blessed to be here all these years. I’m happy and want to go out happy.”

Courtney has fought cancer on two separate occasions but says that his health is great and that his decision has nothing to do with his well-being.

Overall, Courtney has been a coach for 46 years. In that time, you coach a lot of kids.

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of phone calls and texts I’ve had,” said Courtney of his former players. “Just thanking me for what they learned when they were here that helped them in life. Yeah, we won the biggest share of games, won championships and those kind of things… but it goes back to who you believe in and trust. And when those bullets start flying in the heat of battle you revert back to your training. I feel like that has been consistent and been a good thing.”

Courtney was a grad assistant at UT in 1976. He started on the Farragut coaching staff in 1977, and other than three years as the defensive coordinator at Halls from 1979 to 1981, Courtney has spent his entire coaching career just off Kingston Pike in west Knoxville.

“This place is special,” said Courtney. “The community is very supportive. They want the kids to do well academically. They care about their grades. They want their kids to compete for championships and those good enough to complete at the next level. I’ve been blessed to have administrators that have supported me and let me do things the way I want to do it.”

That backing is a big reason why he decided to stay at Farragut for all these years.

“There are guys that have messed up,” said Courtney. “They left jobs that (they thought) were better and didn’t realize it in time. They should have stayed where they were at because they were more successful and know how to motivate that style of kid.  They know how to fundraise but will jump to another job just for the name of the place. I tell the young guys all the time to find out how that community really is.”

He added, “Why leave if it is not broke, and you can still be productive and still be comfortable and get better every day?”

Courtney will not be a stranger to Farragut High School or the program. He will serve as the Director of Football Operations for the Admirals.

“I’ve had two or three facility plans that I have had on my calendar that I have tried to work on,” Courtney said. “Upgrades to the stadium and an addition to the fieldhouse. My goal the next three years is to get those things done.”