Johnson City Press Friday, October 24, 2014

Sports Sports Live Douglas Fritz High schools

Prep news travels fast in this day and age

June 30th, 2014 10:17 pm by Douglas Fritz

Prep news travels fast in this day and age

When I first started working at the Johnson City Press in 1986, things were quite different in the communication business.

Someone could write an article in a newspaper on this end of the state, and it may never be seen or heard about in Knoxville — let alone Nashville or the far end of the state.

Often times, I would fire what amounted to  short-range soapbox missives in the general direction of the TSSAA offices in Hermitage (not intending to hit Andrew Jackson) whenever it seemed the organization was giving Northeast Tennessee the ho-hum shoulder. Some of those words would perhaps land harmlessly on the plateau, but occasionally someone in the mid-state area would make a comment about something written in the Johnson City Press.

These days, folks in Memphis can read stuff before the ink dries on the Kingsport printing press. And vice-versa, Memphis papers are only a point-and-click away — well, if you have a subscription anyway.

Certainly the state has become connected in a different way than even 20 years ago. People in the far west (Dyersburg, not Sacramento) can easily keep up with the far east (Bristol, not China).

Someone scoring five touchdowns in a game is just a tweet away from being heard around the state. Of course, not-so-good news travels fast, too, like Science Hill’s mock disaster drill for athletics last week.

The main thing is it should bring us closer together as supporters of high school athletics. It’s something we have in common. We can marvel about the 18-strikeout performance of a kid in Columbia just the same as a 350-yard rushing effort by a player in Union City, or a 45-point explosion by a basketball player in Chattanooga.

Four years may seem like a long time, but high school sports careers go by in the blink of an eye. Let’s pay attention to what our kids are doing during the 2014-15 school year. Find a way to get to a game — but if you can’t, there’s a entire state full of players working hard and doing special things. Find a way to acknowledge them.

You have the power at your fingertips.

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Frank Forsythe is the new volleyball coach at Unicoi County.

Forsythe coached nine years with USA junior volleyball, and also served as an assistant coach for four seasons at Milligan College.

“We feel volleyball is a sport that is becoming more and more popular in Unicoi County,” said Unicoi athletic director Michael Smith. “We are very fortunate to hire a coach with so much knowledge and experience to lead this growing sport.”

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Bill Francis was recently chosen as the new head girls basketball coach at Dobyns-Bennett.

Francis replaces Roger France, who stepped down in May. France had a career record of 549-349, including 287-236 with the Lady Indians.

Francis was previously the boys’ junior-varsity coach at Dobyns-Bennett.

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Prep signings: Former Elizabethton softball standout Danielle Loving is moving on to the next level.

The Cyclones’ shortstop, who was one of the area’s top defensive players in 2014, signed Monday to play at Emory & Henry College. …

Unicoi County has landed another baseball player in the college ranks.

Pitcher Connor Simpson made his decision Monday to join the program at Roane State Community College. Simpson helped the Blue Devils reach the Class AA state sectional round in 2014, posting a sparking record of 9-1.

Douglas Fritz is a staff writer for the Johnson City Press. Contact him at dfritz@johnsoncitypress.com.

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