East Tennesseeans honored for support of high school athletics

(TSSAA press release) Schools and individuals from all parts of East Tennessee were recognized at the TSSAA Regional Meetings on Monday, November 4 as part of the 20th Annual A.F. Bridges Awards program.

The A.F. Bridges Awards are given in honor of the TSSAA’s first executive secretary. He served as executive secretary from 1946 until his retirement in 1972. Under his leadership, athletics in the state of Tennessee reached a level of excellence and competence that earned the respect of all people. Mr. Bridges was a person of high principles who displayed firmness and fairness, as well as the high ideals of ethics and integrity as he and many other school people established the foundations of TSSAA.

The A.F. Bridges Awards program includes Divisional Awards for schools that have shown exemplary sportsmanship and awards for individuals in the categories of School System Administrator of the Year, Principal of the Year, Athletic Director of the Year, Female Coach of the Year, Male Coach of the Year, Official of the Year, and Contributor of the Year. In total, the awards recognize 63 individuals and as many as 27 schools from all parts of the state that represent what’s best in high school athletics.

Nominations were made by a Citizenship/Sportsmanship Committee and member schools in each athletic district and the final selection was made by a State Selection Committee.

Below is a full list of this year’s East Tennessee honorees.

Athletic District 1

School System Administrator of the Year
Evelyn Rafalowski, Sullivan County School System

Principal of the Year
Patrick O’Neil, Cosby High School

Athletic Director of the Year
Randy Rogers, Jefferson County High School

Female Coach of the Year
Dr. Katie Moore, Gatlinburg Pittman High School

Male Coach of the Year
Caine Ballard, Greenville High School

Official of the Year
Gary Compton, Region I Football/Tri Cities Basketball

Contributor of the Year
Doug Swaggerty, Swaggerys Farms Sausage

Athletic District 2

School System Administrator of the Year
Dr.Mike Winstead, Maryville City Schools

Principal of the Year
Rob Speas, Fulton High School

Athletic Director of the Year
Bobby Clark, Harriman High School

Female Coach of the Year
Sarah Bailey, Alcoa High School

Male Coach of the Year
Matt Buckner, Farragut High School

Official of the Year
Justin Pratt, KFOA

Contributor of the Year
Steve Williams, Knoxville Focus

A.F. Bridges Divisional Awards

The A.F. Bridges Divisional Awards are given to schools that have had no reported unsportsmanlike conduct incidents during the previous school year and have displayed an overall positive effort to teach, expect, and demand a positive atmosphere of sportsmanship at their particular contests.

The schools that received this prestigious award were nominated by local officials associations and other member schools.

Hancock County High School
Unaka High School
Wartburg Central High School
Girls Preparatory School
Loudon High School
Sequatchie County High School
Cocke County High School
Maryville High School
Walker Valley High School

Of the 26 divisional recipients, one school in each class will receive Tennessee’s top award for overall outstanding effort, the A.F. Bridges State Award of Excellence. This is the highest award that can be bestowed upon a school to honor its overall efforts to promote citizenship and sportsmanship at school, and at athletic contests. The winner of that award will be announced at a later date.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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