JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (release) -- Jefferson City, Tenn. mayor Mark Potts and the mayor of Jefferson County Alan Palmieri have declared Oct. 13, 2012 – the day of Carson-Newman’s homecoming – to be “Ken Sparks Day.”
Potts said that Sparks has done things the right way with integrity.
“You’ve done such great things for Jefferson City and Carson-Newman,” Potts said to Sparks when presenting the head coach with a plaque, “We’re going to declare this day ‘Ken Sparks Day’ in your honor for everything that you’ve done for the county and the city.”
Sparks became the 11th football coach at any level to surpass 300 wins with an opening day victory over Glenville State. He sits at 302 wins, three away from tying Pacific Lutheran head coach Frosty Westering for ninth-most all time.
“300 victories is an outstanding achievement,” Palmieri said. “It’s one that brings great pride to the community but also to your staff and your players. We’re deeply grateful for what you have done (for the area).”
Sparks is a sought-after public speaker and motivator, delivering speeches at coach’s clinics, church groups and civic organizations. He is a member of Manley Baptist Church of Morristown, along with his wife Carol, and is heavily involved in multiple Christian organizations.
“Now does this mean I don’t have to pay taxes anymore?” Sparks joked with the two mayors before turning serious. “I cherish this and am grateful for this. My hope is to somehow or another use something silly like football and turn it into something that has eternal value - turn it into something that makes a difference in someone’s life.”
While Sparks stayed humble, Carson-Newman president Randall O’Brien said the 33-year Eagle head coach has made his mark.
“There are some great coaches, but not a single one of them have done what coach Sparks has,” O’Brien said. “He’s not just about football victories; he’s about the victories in the lives of young men. He believes in coaching from the inside out – not only developing character but also Christian young men that will be a credit to their families, their country and their Lord.”