Boyd Buchanan hires Tennessee prep football coaching legend Gary Rankin

Staff file photo / Veteran prep football coach Gary Rankin, who has won a TSSAA-record 17 state championships and whose 467 wins are the most in Tennessee history, is taking over at Boyd Buchanan.

Just two weeks after its head football coaching position came open, Boyd Buchanan has made an emphatic statement about the future of its program by hiring Gary Rankin - Tennessee's all-time wins leader among prep football coaches.

The Chattanooga private school announced the move Sunday afternoon.

"We are extremely excited to have Coach Rankin lead our football program and to be part of the Buccaneer community," Boyd Buchanan athletic director Matt Pobieglo said in a news release. "His credentials, consistency, and success will be a tremendous asset to not only the athletic department but Boyd Buchanan School.

"Coach Rankin exemplifies excellence and his leadership in all aspects of the student athlete experience will be invaluable in the classroom, field, community and throughout Boyd Buchanan."

Rankin, who earlier this month resigned as Alcoa's head coach after 16 seasons - he won 13 of his TSSAA-record 17 state titles while there - ranks fourth nationally among all active prep coaches with a 467-78 overall record in 39 seasons as a head coach.

The only coach in state history to win more than 400 games, Rankin reached the BlueCross Bowl state title game in every year but two (2011, 2012) while at Alcoa, leading the Tornadoes to seven straight Class 3A championships before stepping down on Feb. 3.

At that time, Rankin made it clear he was resigning at Alcoa, not retiring from coaching, and that the Chattanooga area was a possible destination.

"I'm excited to be part of the Boyd Buchanan community. It is a tremendous opportunity to lead the football program," Rankin, whose son JT has been the Bucs' strength coach since 2021, told the Times Free Press on Sunday. "I've always preached throughout my career the importance of family, and this is an opportunity to not only continue coaching but to get to do so with JT and be closer to my grandson there.

"Our other son (Zeke) is playing for MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University, in Murfreesboro), so this will also be a chance for us to be closer to him, too. We knew we wanted to find something around Chattanooga to be closer to family. We looked at South Pittsburg and were inches from taking that one but didn't, and then this job opened up and I was intrigued by the challenge of building off what they've started. I can't wait to get to work."

Rankin takes over for Jeremy Bosken, who stepped down on Feb. 15 after three seasons in charge of the Bucs. Bosken has since accepted the job to take over the fledgling program at Tri-Cities Christian Academy in Blountville.

Rankin began his career as an assistant at Warren County in 1976, then took over as head coach at Smith County, his alma mater, in 1982. His first team there finished 0-10, but in his second season he guided the program to the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. He followed with four more postseason appearances in a row before being hired at Murfreesboro's Riverdale, where he would win titles in the state's largest classification in 1994, 1997, 2001 and 2004 plus finish runner-up in five seasons.

Rankin began his tenure at Alcoa by winning five consecutive state titles from 2006 to 2010, won another in 2013, and after finishing runner-up to Nashville's Christ Presbyterian Academy in 2014, he led the program to seven titles in a row.

In 2011-12, the two years the Tornadoes did not reach the title game, they were eliminated by eventual state champion Christian Academy of Knoxville in the quarterfinal round by a combined three points. A total of 10 points is all that separated Rankin's teams from winning state titles in all 16 of his years at Alcoa.

Rankin's teams have reached at least the semifinals 24 times in his career, losing in that round only twice. He has a 126-15 record in the playoffs and has failed to win at least 10 games only once in the past 30 seasons.

He has coached 16 state Mr. Football award winners and is a member of multiple halls of fame, including being inducted into the TSSAA's hall in 2011.

"We are so excited to welcome Coach Rankin to the Boyd Buchanan family," Jill Hartness, Boyd Buchanan's head of school, said in the news release. "I'd like to thank Matt Pobieglo for his strategic vision and leadership that forged this partnership and continues to strengthen BBS athletics."

Contact Stephen Hargis at or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

photo Staff photo / Head coach Gary Rankin relays a play to Alcoa quarterback Austin Tallent during a TSSAA Class 3A quarterfinal against Loudon on Nov. 20, 2009. Rankin, Alcoa's football coach the past 16 seasons before resigning in early February, has been hired by Boyd Buchanan, the Chattanooga private school announced Sunday.


All-time wins leaders among active prep football coaches:1. J.T. Curtis (John Curtis, Louisiana) — 603-75-62. Robert Hyland (St. Mary’s Springs, Wisconsin) — 492-111-23. Jim Roth (Southern Columbia Area, Pennsylvania) 471-64-24. Gary Rankin (Boyd Buchanan) 467-785. Philip Haywood (Belfry, Kentucky) 465-148