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Youth sports leader Neely dies


A Farragut-area man known for his tireless work in multiple youth sports leagues and stanch defense of young athletes within those leagues has died.

Eddie Neely, regional commissioner of AYSO 128, CBFO football commissioner, a past president of CBFO, a youth coach and an official for high school football and soccer, died Sunday, June 8, following a massive stroke. The stroke came less than two days after surgery at St. Mary’s Medical Center Wednesday, June 4. He was 44.

Brad Burkett, who will replace Eddie as CBFO Football commissioner and a CBFO Board of Directors member, goes back four years in his relationship with the former commissioner.

“In my time of getting to know Eddie, what I’d come to find is that he committed to being a commissioner, committed to being a coach,” Burkett said. “A very much unsung hero.

“He was always looking out for the majority of kids,” Burkett added. “There were coaches he stuck by, because he knew those coaches had the kids’ best interest at heart. … Not just with C-B-F-O commissioner, but as A-Y-S-O [director]. … When it came time to stand up for this community, other organizations, Eddie was right there in the firing lines. He was willing to put himself in the forefront of maybe somebody being a little upset with him.

“There’s not really a kid you can say for the last seven years that’s not been touched by Eddie’s commitment.”

Don Hutcheson, commissioner of CBFO softball, a member of CBFO Board of Directors and a veteran Knoxville Football Officials Association referee, recognized Eddie’s passing with U.S. Flag at half-staff and a moment of silence before each of three CBFO Softball playoff games Monday, June 9.

“Everybody is just shocked over this loss,” Hutcheson said. “Eddie gave far more of himself to his community than he ever took back.”

Hutcheson praised Eddie’s progress as an up-and-coming high school football official. He would have entered his third season in that capacity. “He had progressed as an official far faster than we would normally expect. … In the first year of the association, he was the only person in the association that scored 100 percent on the [annual] written exam. … I’ve been in 30 years, and I’ve never made a hundred.

“That shows what an effort he put in to being the best that he could be at whatever he did,” Hutcheson added.

Dr. Matt Amos, president of Knoxville Christian School since 2000, saw Eddie coach KCS Middle School basketball, flag football and soccer into the mid-2000s.

“It really, really was shocking to us,” Amos said about the loss. “Of course, we have a kind affection for Eddie and his family. He coached here for years. His kids [Mira Rene and Matthew Allen] were students here. All of the Knoxville Christian hearts go out to them.

“He was one who really put the kids first,” Amos added. “He loved kids, he loved to coach them.”

Doug Mooney was a long-time CBFO football coach and current member of CBFO Board of Directors. “In my 25-plus years of involvement with C-B-F-O, I’ve never run into any individual that’s had the commitment and the dedication as Eddie Neely,” Mooney said.

In support of Eddie’s immediate family, Burkett said, “We are in the works of putting together a scholarship fund for his kids.”

A veteran of the timber industry, Eddie also is survived by his wife of 17 years, Pamela, and mother, Carolyn Wynacth.

 

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