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Darnell takes Town park position

Ben Darnell enjoys spending time outdoors, and in his new position as athletic and park coordinator for Farragut, he will be outside on many occasions.

Darnell replaces Jason Wright, who resigned in late March to pursue other business ventures.

“I’m originally from Powell and I’m looking forward to getting to know the people of Farragut,” he said. “In my couple of weeks here, it’s really been great so far. There’s been a huge learning curve — figuring out what’s going on and what people want. The staff has been great to work with and the people in the community have been great.”

Leisure Services Director Sue Stuhl said the athletic and park coordinator has a wide range of responsibilities. The position is responsible for overseeing the athletic fields and athletic leagues in town.

“It’s a busy position with lots of details,” Stuhl said. “The coordinator basically runs all our athletic leagues and keeps up with the parks. Public works does the maintenance, but we’re the ones doing all the inspections and making sure things are safe.”

All sports officials and park assistants are under the scope of responsibilities handled by the athletic and park coordinator, she said.

“We all have some little extras that we do, so there’s a little of that involved with the position as well,” she said.

Darnell was working in North Carolina when he was hired by the town.

“I wanted to get back here,” he said. “There’s no state taxes in Tennessee, plus my wife, Kelley, was here. It was hard being away from her.”

The opportunities in the recreational field in Knoxville are sparse, Darnell said. When there are opportunities, there is considerable competition. He decided to take a chance and the opportunity worked.

“I wanted to utilize the skills I had learned and continue working in the recreation field,” he said.

A University of Tennessee graduate, Darnell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in therapeutic recreation and a Master of Science degree in recreation administration.

Prior to taking the job with the town, Darnell said he was in charge of an outdoor high-adventure camp just outside Hendersonville, N.C.

“We worked with just the general population,” he said. “I was there for about six months. Prior to that, I was a student at U-T working in the outdoor program as part of my assistantship for my master’s degree.”


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