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Coach, boosters seek $37,000 message board, $100,000-plus upgrade

Highlighting more than $100,000 in stadium upgrade plans at Farragut’s Bill Clabo Field, projected for completion before the 2007 season opener, is a new, color message board capable of showing Admiral in-game replays.

To replace the current message board above the scoreboard, which hasn’t been operational in years, FHS varsity football head coach Eddie Courtney said the new message board, “about” 12-foot long and eight-foot tall, would cost “about” $37,000. That would include all installation and removal costs.

“It’s like a JumboTron capable of replay, or flash messages up there to get fans to cheer, and advertising,” Courtney said.

Funding, however, is still an issue according to the Admiral skipper.

Though what Courtney labeled as a “sizable” portion has, in fact, been pledged, he said little of that amount has actually been donated. As of late June, none of those pledges had come through, the coach added.

Of the roughly $37,000 price tag, Courtney said, “We need at least twenty-five [thousand in donations] to make sure it can be done,” with the other roughly $9,000 coming from Farragut Football Booster Club funds.

“We’re waiting until the guys we’ve talked to business-wise come through first. If it’s not going to be a feasible thing, we’re not going to go any further. We’re happy with the people that are going to help us, we just need a little more help.”

Courtney said the so-called “drop-dead” date for all necessary business and private help to actually be in hand — as opposed to just pledged — would be “by the end of July.”

In addition to businesses, “I’m hoping that maybe some former players would come and help us now,” Courtney said.

Courtney said he and the boosters would agree to sell advertising space around the message board if any businesses were interested. Anyone interested should contact Courtney at 865-671-7149.

The coach said a specific message board, to be purchased from Hilton Displays, has already been selected pending the necessary business and private donations.

As for the scoreboard malfunction in late April during the FHS boys soccer team’s run to an eventual state championship, “We’ve got that fixed, it was a circuit board inside the scoreboard,” Courtney said. “Lightning struck the scoreboard when they were playing a soccer game. … It took about three-and-a-half, four weeks before we could get a part in for it, a new circuit board.”

Still waiting for a bill, Courtney estimated that cost to be around $1,200 to be paid by the booster club.

As for motivation to obtain the message board, Courtney said, “Every year we’ve tried to do another thing to try to make it a better place. We try to do two or three projects every year to dress the stadium up.”

Among other changes: “We’re hoping to have twenty-five second play clocks in each end zone,” Courtney said of this roughly $6,000 project. “I hope I’ve got funds for that already taken care of” within the booster club budget.

Other improvements planned or underway: 10 additional football lockers, enlarge the weight room by 1,875 square feet, new goalpost pads, sideline tarp, top-dressing the field.

“Our booster club has done a tremendous job trying to take on a lot of projects in the next two-and-a-half months,” Courtney said.


Courtney said he hopes all upgrades are completed in time for the 2007 Knoxville Football League Jamboree in August, to be hosted by FHS at Bill Clabo Field.

With this season’s jamboree split into back-to-back nights, the Admirals will host 10 to 12 yet-to-be-determined teams “from the west end of the county” and area Friday, Aug. 17, Courtney said.

Central High School will host other Knox County and a few area teams during its jamboree Thursday, Aug. 16.

Having been held at Neyland Stadium in recent years, “U-T is doing some work over there, so that’s not available this year for the jamboree,” Courtney said.


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