It took just one year as an assistant coach in Chattanooga for Mark Teague to prove he was ready for the next step in his career.
Teague was named the new head football coach at Howard High School on Tuesday, after one season as defensive coordinator at East Ridge. It will be his first head coaching job, but he has worked previously as an assistant at prep programs in Alabama and Arkansas.
"I hired him while I was at East Ridge last year because he was just a really impressive candidate," first-year Howard principal Zac Brown said. "When he interviewed for the job here, you could just tell he has a plan for bringing this program back to where it should be.
"I wanted a man who would be more than just a football coach. I wanted a man of character, integrity and commitment, and I believe Coach Teague answers the call for each of those qulifications. He will be a great role model for the kids."
Teague follows Michael Calloway, who went 3-26 in three seasons with the Hustlin' Tigers.
This past season at East Ridge, Teague's defense held six opponents to fewer than 20 points, with one shutout. Pioneers coach Tracy Malone praised Teague for his week-to-week organizational abilities and said he believed Teague was ready to be a head coach.
Teague, a native of Dothan, Ala., was the defensive coordinator at Alabama's Ashford Academy and later was an assistant for four seasons at Marion High in Arkansas, which is located less than half an hour from Memphis.
"I've always had an aspiration to be a head coach," Teague said. "Being so close to the Memphis schools, I've had experience with kids from similar backgrounds. I knew I wanted to continue working at a place where I know there's a need, where I can be a role model.
"There's no mistake, it'll be a challenge. It will take time to get the program back where we want it. But the school has a rich tradition and we just have to get the kids to buy into what we're building. It won't happen overnight, but we're going to work at it."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.