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CBFO’s Burkett to head new ESK grid program

Brad Burkett, commissioner of Cedar Bluff-Farragut Optimist Club youth football league and a coach, has been named athletic director and head coach of the new middle school football program at The Episcopal School of Knoxville.

With the school’s Board of Trustees voting in January to launch a football program in the fall of 2009, Burkett said “20 to 25” students in grades six through eight are expected to play this fall.

ESK football will become an official member of Knoxville Independent School League, a private middle school league previously playing flag football, in 2010.

“Coach Burkett brings a new level of experience, enthusiasm and commitment to build a solid foundation for our athletic program. He has experience in taking programs to the next level. He is very interested in doing that here,” said Peter Klekamp, ESK assistant headmaster. “It’s going to bring us up to a new level of competitiveness with our emphasis on excellence not only in the classroom, but the sports field as well.”

Burkett, 35, said he plans to begin conditioning drills by Aug. 1. The team’s opening game will be against CBFO’s AFC Junior Midgets — a non-school Knox Metro Youth league team — at Farragut High School’s Bill Clabo Field Saturday, Aug. 22.

Other opponents in a roughly six-game schedule will be a mixture of public and parochial schools, highlighted by a trip to Knoxville Christian School for a 6:30 p.m. game Thursday, Aug. 27.

“All of our games will be pretty much away,” Burkett said. “We want to be in play against teams that will give us a challenge but also against whom we’re going to be competitive this first year.

“We look forward to springboarding a football program that will represent E-S-K in such a manner that kids who look at the program will say, ‘That’s a top notch program. That’s where I want to be,’” he added.

Burkett said his goals are realistic at the 300-student K-8 school.

“Some students we will only have for one year. They will mainly gain skills to play high school ball,” he said. “For younger kids, we’re giving them a place to grow. ... It’s going out there and getting some cohesiveness amongst the team and the get the program kicked off from the start on the right foot, doing it the right way.”

A CBFO coach for the past eight years, Burkett took a team of players his first year, none of whom had ever played football before, to the Knox County Metro playoffs. 

In his eight years at CBFO, Burkett coached two Knox County youth champions and his teams qualified for the Knox County playoffs seven of eight seasons.

Outside of youth football, Burkett was a co-founder of Athletic Revolution, a business that brings former collegiate and professional athletes to work with youth and high school athletes for skill development.

“He had a successful career as a financial advisor before returning in 2001, in his move to C-B-F-O, to his first love – athletics,” Klekamp said.

A former quarterback at Emory and Henry College (Va.), Burkett earned a degree in economics from The University of Tennessee.


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