Legendary East Ridge coach Catherine Neely will become the first female from Tennessee to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. The announcement came Thursday, and Neely, who has coached at East Ridge for 48 years, will be inducted July 11.
Neely will be the seventh person and fifth coach from Tennessee to be inducted, and is one of 12 members of this year’s National Hall of Fame class.
“This is the pinnacle of my career,” Neely said. “To be one of so few from around the whole country to be honored, it really leaves me speechless. But I am very honored and very proud to be included.”
In 48 years as the head volleyball coach, she has compiled a record of 1,371 wins, which ranks third in the National Record Book in all-time volleyball coaching wins. She also compiled a record of 625-364 in her 43 years as head basketball coach at East Ridge and for the past 20 years, has been the school’s athletic director.
In her volleyball career, Coach Neely’s teams have made 16 state tournament appearances, winning two state championships (1997, 2005) and finishing as runner-up twice (1988, 1989). She has also captured 17 District Championships and 16 Region Championships.
As a basketball coach, Catherine’s teams have won eight district championships and have made 28 region tournament appearances.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 20 years, starting at the News-Free Press as a 19-year-old reporter. He has been with the Times Free Press since its inception and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation ...