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Upperman AD: Communication And Buy-In Are Keys To Strong School Athletics

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Upperman AD: Communication And Buy-In Are Keys To Strong School Athletics

Upperman tries for its first state football title Saturday in Chattanooga, adding to its reputation as a strong athletic program centered around communication and unity.

That according to Athletic Director Ross Fanning. In just the past two years, Upperman has seen its volleyball, baseball, basketball, and football teams make state tournament runs. In that span, the school has also added tennis, boys’ volleyball, and E-Sports. Fanning said at a smaller school like Upperman, coaches have to buy into having multi-sport athletes.

“Coaches have to communicate with each other so they can work together to use those athletes and our students that want to play multiple sports to make it work,” Fanning said. “That’s really what has made our program so successful.”

Fanning said it has been surreal to watch the community support increase with the program’s growth. Fanning said Upperman athletics has drawn the attention of the Upper Cumberland and brings in more and more young athletes each year.

“When you get a community, and you have strong coaches, and you all work together, you’ll bring the best out in our athletes,” Fanning said. “Not only the athletes that are here, but you’ll get athletes to come in and you’ll get students that want to come in that want to participate in that program just from seeing the success.”

Fanning sees the same thing for new coaches and said having Upperman graduates become coaches at the school speaks to the unity within the program. Fanning also said it is vital to be a high-achieving school in all areas if you want successful athletics.

“It’s not going to work if just your athletic programs are successful,” Fanning said. “You need your academics to be high and you need high expectations across the board.”

Fanning said with open enrollment in the district, the wide variety of successful sports is attracting more incoming freshmen than ever.

“Just continue to build those programs and continue to work together to where we can develop the student-athletes that want to be a part of our programs and as long as we keep this success, we’re going to continue to get student-athletes to come into our school,” Fanning said.

Upperman plays Pearl Cohn Saturday for a state title. Kickoff set for 10am central. Live coverage begins at 9am on Sports Radio 104.7 and 106-9 Kicks Country.


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