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Hardin Valley program shaping up for 2008-09

Its colors are officially Navy blue and powder blue. Its nickname will be Hawks, Wolverines, Huskies, Islanders or Titans. It’ll offer a complete TSSAA varsity sports schedule from the get-go — with the major exception of football.

With an estimated 1,100 students set to enroll at new Hardin Valley Academy for the 2008-09 school year, perhaps the school’s biggest sports asset in its embryo status is support at the top.

While HVA principal Sallee Reynolds is a self-proclaimed huge sports fan, George Ashe seems to equal that administrative zest as the school’s acting athletics director and assistant principal.

Ashe said athletic facility construction is “actually more that on schedule,” adding, “Merit Construction is suggesting that, by the end of May, everything should be well-in-hand.

“The gymnasium is well underway, and it’s beautiful. Very large.”

With a seating capacity of “about 2,500,” one of the gym’s major features will be retractable bleachers on the top level that will allow for an indoor jogging track, Ashe said.

The school’s outdoor facilities — football field that also will service HVA soccer teams, plus a track, in addition to baseball and softball fields — come together in a rough semi-circle adjacent to the school to the left of HVA’s main entrance drive.

Goalposts are up on both ends of the football field, along with the primary asphalt surfacing for the track. Fences, dugouts and “foul poles” are in place on both diamonds, Preparing the playing surfaces is the current step.

Neither bleachers, pressboxes nor scoreboards have yet to be erected. All bleachers will be aluminum, Ashe said, and within the football complex will be placed on both sides. No other details about pressboxes, scoreboards or stands are now known, he added.

A yet-to-be-constructed concession stand/restroom facility is planned to serve fans at all three fields and will roughly be located equal in distance from the three, Ashe said.

As for when Reynolds will release the student vote and declare the HVA mascot/nickname, Ashe said, “Probably at the end of this month or the very beginning of February.”

Nickname will be chosen by a vote of future HVA students who are eighth-graders from Karns, Farragut and Cedar Bluff middle schools (about 450), and other future HVA students who are freshmen from Karns, Farragut and Bearden high schools (about 450) and sophomores at those schools (about 150), Ashe said. The acting AD said the current list of five nicknames was “arrived at by the students.”

As for school colors, “Those colors were chosen by Mrs. Reynolds,” Ashe said.

With HVA having joined TSSAA “in late November,” Ashe said the school will start 2008-09 with varsity and selected junior varsity teams. Freshman teams also will be included in selected sports.

With an enrollment expected to “jump up somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,800” by the 2009-10 school year when HVA will have its first senior class, the school likely will be classified Class AAA in all non-football sports, Ashe said.

“They could easily put us in that northern district [3-AAA] with Oak Ridge, Karns, Powell, Halls, [West, Clinton and Central] because they’re a team short [versus District 4-AAA with Farragut and Bearden],” Ashe said.

As far as football classification, “We have no idea what they’ll want to do there,” the acting AD added.

With no varsity football in 2008-09, “Part of the reason for not having varsity football that first year is the idea that we’re going to be primarily sophomores and freshmen,” Ashe said. “And also, the other reason is it gives the coach time to grow the program. To come into the school and get things set up.”

Ashe said neither teachers nor coaches had been hired as of mid-January. However, of the 146 who had applied to teach at HVA as of late last week, “Many of these individuals … have also applied or shown interest in coaching in various sports,” he said. “There are quite a few people who are interested to coach at the new school.”

Hiring date? “It could be early February, mid-February,” he said.

An English teacher at West High School for 14 years, Ashe will remain as WHS boys soccer head coach this spring — his sixth and final season — before turning all his attention to HVA.

“We’re very excited about this school, and I’m speaking on behalf of myself and Mrs. Reynolds,” Ashe said.

Ashe is a1980 graduate of Powell High School where he played football before earning his bachelor’s degree from The University of Tennessee followed by an Educational Specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University.


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