McCallie names Kenny Sholl as executive athletic director

Staff file photo / McCallie has named Kenny Sholl as the school's new executive athletic director.

Kenny Sholl has held many titles during his 41 years at McCallie School.

Now he can add another — and one that is very close to his heart — as he makes the transition from assistant head of school to executive athletic director.

“I can’t put into words how excited I am to be in that building and get to work around the coaches and student-athletes,” said Sholl, who received the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2021. “I have immensely enjoyed all the roles I’ve had at this very special school.

“I really believe in what athletics can do for students. At McCallie, the mentoring that occurs in athletics is second to none, in my opinion. I am grateful to (head of school) Lee Burns for putting me in a place to have a closer connection with our athletic department.”

During his four decades at McCallie, Sholl has also worked as head baseball coach for five seasons and as an assistant basketball coach for six years, and he has assisted with the football program in some capacity since his arrival, including a one-year stint as head coach in 1994 before being asked to become dean of students.

Sholl later took on the role of upper school head as well as associate and assistant head of school, but he remained on the football staff throughout his time as an administrator. He was the team's defensive coordinator from 1997-2005, a stretch that included the Blue Tornado winning their first football state title in 2001.

  photo  Staff file photo / Kenny Sholl, right, congratulates McCallie running back Alex Trotter before he signs with UTC's football program in February 2015. Sholl is making the transition from assistant head of school to executive athletic director for the Blue Tornado.

Sholl is also one of 12 members on the TSSAA Legislative Council, which in December voted unanimously to allow student-athletes for TSSAA teams to begin profiting from their name, image and likeness. In his new role at McCallie, he will primarily focus on overseeing the school's organizational effort to deal with NIL rules.

“Over a very short period of time, the NIL issue will be incredibly complex with high schools,” Sholl said. “We’re not dealing with 18-year-old adults, and there are things we are not allowed to have any oversight of, like the use of our facilities in NIL advertising.

“There are questions to answer, like how does NIL affect need-based financial aid? How do we make sure that the opportunities our students have fit with our school’s mission? How do you take these boys, who are still developing in every way, and build the kind of culture you have to have in your locker room? It’s the strategy of dealing with the unknown.”

Jeff Romero, McCallie's current AD, will retain his title while shifting his daily focus to event management and planning, overseeing the media and social media arm of the department, as well as helping in scheduling.

“Kenny has served our school in so many different roles, and always with excellence and faithfulness,” Burns said through a McCallie release. “With his experience on the Legislative Council and the new NIL challenges, it just made sense to make this change.

“Plus Kenny and Jeff will work well together. Their different strengths really complement each other, and while Kenny’s role with the Legislative Council will take up a good deal of his time right now, he’ll also be assisting me on special projects. The biggest thing is to make sure, as with everything else here, that we continue to run our athletic department the right way.”

Contact Stephen Hargis at