Area Georgia coaches were in a wait-and-see mode following the news that the GHSA reclassification and executive committees approved a plan Monday for a six-classification system beginning with the 2012-13 school year.
"We'll have to wait until the October [student enrollment] numbers come out before we see where they will put everybody, so until then it's hard to have much of an opinion," Ridgeland football coach Mark Mariakis said. "From what I saw of the plan, there are pros and cons to what they might do."
The reaction was mostly positive, however, to a slight tweak to the plan that will allow the GHSA to alter the percentage of each class if it helps a significant number of schools with travel issues. For example, if the bottom two percent of Class AAA would benefit from going to Class AA to cut down on travel, the GHSA would increase the Class AA percentage accordingly.
The plan as it was previously submitted had a fixed percentage for each class. The new plan likely will lead to much lobbying before the final regions are decided.
"I'm not worried so much about who we play. I just don't want to travel all over the state to find games," said David Humphreys, the athletic director and football coach at Trion, the area's smallest school. "One of the scenarios we saw earlier would have us needing to find four nonregion games, and with the region in a class above us going to a full-league schedule, that would put us in a bad place. Maybe this new plan will help prevent that."
When GPS beat Lenoir City in its first match Friday in the Early Bird volleyball tournament in the Knoxville area, it was the 700th career victory for Bruisers coach Paul Brock. The Bruisers went 3-2 in the competition and tied for third place.
When Brock came to GPS in 1994 as an assistant, he became the school's first non-faculty coach in any TSSAA-sanctioned sport. The next season he was promoted to head coach.
"Most of it comes from passion," Brock said of his coaching career. "When you love things, you want to learn about them and gain as much knowledge as you can. It's been fun, and it continues to be fun. I'm very thankful for GPS giving me the opportunity."
Brock credits East Ridge coach Catherine Neely as one of his mentors, along with Lorri Johnson, whose Soddy-Daisy team won the Early Bird tournament. Brock's first job as an assistant was in 1982 with Johnson at South Young, now South Doyle.
"Back then," Brock said, "I just showed up to help and have fun."
East Ridge and Red Bank will be hosting the 25th Choo Choo volleyball tournament this weekend. The field consists of 32 teams ranging from the Atlanta and Nashville areas to upper East Tennessee, along with some local teams.
Action begins Friday at both schools at 4 p.m. and resumes with seeded pool play Saturday at 9 a.m. Teams will then be placed in the Gold bracket at East Ridge or the Silver bracket at Red Bank for single-elimination, which is scheduled to start Saturday afternoon at 4. Championships are slated to begin at 8.
"We're loaded with teams that were in state tournaments last year," said Neely, the tournament director. "I think it'll be a great tournament."
Choo Choo volleyball tournament
Friday's pool-play schedule
At East Ridge
4--East Ridge vs. Bradley Central; Hixson vs. GPS; Notre Dame vs. Walker Valley; Ooltewah vs. Grace Academy
5--Bradley Central vs. Eagleville; Hixson vs. Kennesaw Mountain; Notre Dame vs. Knoxville Catholic; Ooltewah vs. North Cobb
6--East Ridge vs. Eagleville; GPS vs. Cookeville; Walker Valley vs. Goodpasture; Grace Academy vs. Sullivan South
7--Bradley Central vs. David Crockett; Kennesaw Mountain vs. Cookeville; Notre Dame vs. Goodpasture; North Cobb vs. Grace Academy
8--East Ridge vs. David Crockett; Hixson vs. Cookeville; Ooltewah vs. Sullivan South; Walker Valley vs. Knoxville Catholic
9--Eagleville vs. David Crockett; Kennesaw Mountain vs. GPS; North Cobb vs. Sullivan South; Goodpasture vs. Knoxville Catholic
At Red Bank
4--Red Bank vs. Sale Creek; Central vs. Cleveland; Soddy-Daisy vs. Signal Mountain; Baylor vs. Boyd-Buchanan
5--Red Bank vs. Livingston Academy; Central vs. Farragut; Soddy-Daisy vs. White County; Baylor vs. Warren County
6--Sale Creek vs. Sequoyah; Cleveland vs. Father Ryan; Signal Mountain vs. Hardin Valley; Boyd-Buchanan vs. Dobyns-Bennett
7--Soddy-Daisy vs. Hardin Valley; Baylor vs. Dobyns-Bennett; Red Bank vs. Sequoyah; Central vs. Father Ryan
8--White County vs. Signal Mountain; Warren County vs. Boyd-Buchanan; Livingston Academy vs. Sale Creek; Farragut vs. Cleveland
9--White County vs. Hardin Valley; Warren County vs. Dobyns-Bennett; Livingston Academy vs. Sequoyah; Farragut vs. Father Ryan