KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett High School educator and Hall of Fame head football coach Graham Clark has announced his intention to retire at the end of the current school year, ending his Hall of Fame career as the winningest football coach in the history of the school.
In 25 seasons leading the D-B football program, Clark totaled 233 wins with a winning percentage of over 77 percent. He guided the Indians to 17 conference championships during his tenure, including 25 consecutive playoff appearances. With two additional seasons as head coach at Chilhowie High School (VA), his career record of 252-71 includes 14 seasons of 10 wins or more.
“Coach Graham Clark exemplifies all that is great about being a leader, both on and off the field,” said Kingsport City Schools superintendent Dr. Jeff Moorhouse. “In addition to being a coach of the highest caliber, he is a man of character that has led the our program with great honor and integrity. He is a Hall-of-Famer in every sense of the word.”
Clark's coaching honors include being named Big East Coach of the Year five times (1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2017) and Hogoheege District Coach of the Year (1981). He is a two-time Northeast Tennessee Coach of the Year, two-time News-Sentinel 5A Coach of the Year, served as the East-West Shrine Game Assistant Coach (1997), the Tennessee Athletics Coaches Association (TACA) TN-KY All-Star Assistant Coach (2003), and the TACA TN-KY All-Star Head Coach (2004). He has served three terms on the TACA football board and twice been named the Tennessee Football Coaches Association president (2003, 2004). He was named a 2017 finalist for the prestigious Power of Influence Award, presented jointly by the American Football Coaches Association and the American Football Coaches Foundation and is a member of the Tennessee Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“For a quarter century, Coach Clark has set the standard for excellence both as a coach and a person, for which we are forever grateful,” said Dobyns-Bennett principal Dr. Chris Hampton. “He is a beloved leader of our football program, school, and community. He has positively touched the lives of hundreds of young men during his tenure as D-B head coach. His incredible legacy as the leader of the Tribe will be forever etched in the history of Dobyns-Bennett High School.”
KCS athletic director Larry Shively added, "Though it would be easy to measure Coach Clark's success with the many accolades and awards he has received and the 252 times he has been victorious on Friday night, the true indicator lies in the individuals he has positively impacted during his incredible career. Through his passion for supporting our community and his players, both during their playing career and beyond, he has improved and changed the lives of so many."
With Coach Clark’s retirement, current football assistant coach Joey Christian has been named interim head coach. A national search will begin immediately to identify the next head coach of the Dobyns-Bennett football program.