Loudon County Sports in Jeopardy

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Loudon, Loudon County (WVLT) - Imagine a Friday night in the fall without high school football.

Tough to picture, isn't it.

If the Loudon County school budget doesn't change, not just football, but all sports may be gone.

Volunteer TV’s Jim Freeman's headed to Redskin Country to hear their concerns, but as big a concern as it is, everyone we spoke with was quick to add, "I think it's going to workout."

The crowd, the lights, the energy, it's a football Friday night at Loudon High School, but if the Loudon County School Board's budget proposal stands as is these stands will be empty this football season.

It's not just football. All Loudon County athletics are on the chopping block. Coaches, fans, and players remain confident.

"We feel confident that they'll get this worked out,” says Loudon Girls Basketball Coach Bryant Collins.

The confidence is contagious.

"I think they're going to work everything out and that they're going to come to a decision. I hope so 'cause a lot of people are going to be mad around here if they don't,” says Jimmy McQueen, former Redskin football player.

Rising seniors can't help but be confident.

"We were worried about it at first when we heard about it, and we called coach. And we're like what's up? He explained to us that it was all probably gonna get worked out,” says Loudon High basketball player Jada Buckner. “We get to play!"

Loudon County's Director of Schools says he won't go as far as saying he's confident, but he's hopeful.

"Other than the $99,000 that the board puts in for coaching supplements, they don't pay for anything else for athletics,” explains Loudon County Director of Schools Edward Headlee. “Well, they paid the light bill for night games, but other than that, athletics is self supporting."

The director tosses out a ballpark figure that might keep athletics and some other services. "If we could get as much as $1.3 million from the state, that would get us within $300,000."

In the meantime, fans are keeping the faith.

Greenback is the other Loudon County high school that's in this mix. Both Greenback and Loudon have rich athletic tradition. The county commission meets on June 11th and the county budget is expected to be voted upon.

Redskin and Cherokee fans are hoping the vote favors for those traditions to continue.


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