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KCS returns to TSSAA, to compete in 3-A

Knoxville Christian School president Matthew Amos, right, with KCS athletics director Brad Burkett in front of school’s future football home- Alan Sloan/farragutpress
Knoxville Christian School, planning to field four to six high school sports with a pool of well under 100 students next school year, officially has been accepted back into Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.

“The draw to potential student-athletes is a district schedule and an opportunity to play neighboring schools for championships,” KCS president Matthew Amos said about reasons to join TSSAA, adding his K-12 school of 175 students has a “high accreditation” and 13-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

TSSAA's Board of Controls voted unanimously to accept KCS during its Nov. 18 meeting in Hermitage.

The Knights will field its first-ever TSSAA varsity football team in fall 2011 — joining existing varsity programs in girls and boys basketball and volleyball — as a member of District 3-A according to KCS athletics director Brad Burkett, also basketball head coach.

Sixty-three athletes have participated in those four sports in an independent league during the 2010-11 season, Burkett said, adding home-schoolers affiliated with KCS accounted for roughly nine of those 63 participants.

Home-schooled athletes have been ruled ineligible to participate with TSSAA schools, although that ruling may be reversed this week as Board of Controls considers home-schooler eligibility.

Girls and boys soccer could be added for 2011-12 based on student interest, Burkett said.

“One of the grand plans is, within the next two to three years we're going to have baseball,” Burkett added.

District rivals, according to Burkett, will include Grace Christian Academy and Oakdale.

The 2011 football schedule — to include the program's first-ever home games — soon will be made public, Burkett added.

As for the school's football field on the campus' northwest side — currently comprised of two goal posts and a fence — bleachers, lights and a small press box are expected to be operational by next fall's season, costing approximately $100,000, Burkett said.

Head football coach Duan Henry's Knights Football team played area TSSAA junior varsity schools in 2010 including North Greene, Oakdale, Greenback and Harriman.

KCS won one game, a 20-0 victory against Harriman Sept. 9.

The Knights’ small athletic program briefly joined TSSAA “for a couple of years” in the mid-2000s — with only a high school basketball program at the time, Amos said.

The KCS president said his school dropped out of TSSAA because Knights Basketball needed to use home-schooled athletes to fill out its teams.

“We asked to drop out with the intent of going back in,” Amos added.

Knoxville Christian isn't officially a member, however, “Until we pay our dues,” Burkett said, adding the school is serving a one-year “affiliation period” through Nov. 18, 2011 during which “we have all the benefits, but we can't make the playoffs” in any TSSAA sport.

“We're just making sure we're complying” with all TSSAA rules and regulations, Amos said.

Amos said about future athletic facility construction, “Our next building will be our gymnasium,” a $2.4 million facility to feature “regulation NBA-sized court, coaches offices, training room and weight room.”

Construction on the gym would proceed, Amos said, when at least one-half of the cost is raised.


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