published Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Gordon Lee set to make switch to artificial turf

CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — Gordon Lee High School will become the latest area football program to utilize field turf, associate athletic director Greg Ellis said.

The field, being installed by Dalton’s AstroTurf, will be completed in time for the school’s first game, according to Ellis, and is the latest in a line of improvements for the campus.

“There have been a lot of improvements to the school and we want to make sure our athletic facilities are also first class,” said Ellis, the former head football coach who re-joined the school recently after two years as Bill Price’s assistant coach at Signal Mountain. “We’re also re-doing the baseball field, using the dirt we’re removing from the football field to level it up, and we’re doing some work to the softball field.”

Gordon Lee joins Calhoun and Ridgeland in northwest Georgia as well as Baylor and McCallie in Chattanooga as area schools with the synthetic turf. Ellis and Clay Crowder, who recently was named the school’s principal after serving as the athletic director, talked with several administrators whose schools have the field turf and quickly made the decision to have it installed.

“Our turf will be much like Ridgeland’s and McCallie’s in that it’s got the shorter turf which makes for a faster field,” Ellis said. “Everybody’s excited about it, and in time it will prove to be very economically beneficial as well since we will no longer have to water it or mow it. We talked to a lot of folks that have it and they all love it.

The field is being purchased with education SPLOST money.

New faces

The field turf announcement is the latest news in a busy early summer for the Gordon Lee athletic programs. In addition to Crowder being promoted to principal and Ellis being hired as an associate AD and assistant football coach, the school has also named Shonn Weldon as associate AD and hired Mike Dunfee as head baseball coach.

Dunfee spent the previous five years as the head coach at LaFayette, his best season coming in 2009 when the Ramblers won 18 games and made the Class AAA playoffs. He replaces Adam Crowley, who coached three years at Gordon Lee after he replaced Greg Payne for the 2009 season.

“I worked with a lot of great people at LaFayette, but this is a great opportunity at Gordon Lee,” Dunfee said. “I just wanted to make a fresh start. Gordon Lee is a program with a fine tradition and big expectations, which is something I like. There is some good young talent coming up; guys who are excited to play baseball.”

about Lindsey Young...

Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...

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