published Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Rhea County renews search for football coach

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Rhea County’s search for a football coach has resumed.

Seeking to replace Jason Fitzgerald, who resigned from the position last month, school principal Jesse Messimer thought he had found a successor in Danny Adams, a 30-year coaching veteran from Fairfield, Ala.

Adams accepted the job and met with the coaching staff Sunday night and the team on Monday.

However, Adams notified Rhea County superintendent Jerry Levengood by email Tuesday morning that he had reconsidered.

“He citing personal family issues,” Levengood said. “He has decided to do an about face and said he was releasing [the] Rhea County school system from any obligation to him. He was offered the job and he accepted the job. He was [here] on site.”

The no-contact period for coaches and athletes is the last week of June and the first week of July, so Rhea County is beginning the feel the pressure to get a coach in place.

“What you have to understand is that while Coach Adams’ credentials were second to none that doesn’t mean there aren’t others out there who have tremendous coaching credentials,” Levengood said.

The first step, which Levengood, Messimer and the selection committee planned to do was get together late Tuesday and review the list of coaches who were interviewed over the past two weeks.

“We were fortunate in that we had some excellent candidates that we interviewed. I was impressed by the quality of the people we spoke with,” Levengood said. “We’re in a bad situation time-wise, and we hope to move quickly to fill the position.”

Contact Ward Gossett at or 423-886-4765.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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