Larry Shively had trouble eating seafood while on vacation.
No, it wasn’t an allergic reaction for the Happy Valley head football coach. However, dinner time and some other things were interrupted by phone calls from well-meaning friends.
People were calling about rumors they heard: Shively was taking the Tennessee High job, or moving over to Dobyns-Bennett as an assistant. There was even one rumor of him becoming the head coach at Kingston.
“The only one that made sense and had a possible connection was Dobyns-Bennett,” said Shively. “I’m from there and my family still lives there, and there is the connection with (D-B head coach) Graham Clark. Maybe the rumors got twisted between Kingsport and Kingston and that’s how that one came about.
“My phone was ringing off the hook at the beach, with people saying they heard this or heard that.”
But other than the vacation distraction it really wasn’t a bad thing overall, said Shively.
“It was all flattering for people to think some of these other places are interested in you,” said Shively. “And any positive publicity we can get for Happy Valley, we will take it.
“We have good football players and good coaches, and we accomplished good things our first year.”
The Warriors went 8-3 and came within one touchdown of reaching the Class 3A state quarterfinals in 2010. But Shively said his group will get cracking hard and heavy when conditioning begins next week.
“We’ve talked to the kids and told them we’re not going to get fat and lazy,” said Shively. “We have a lot of goals that we left on the table last year.”
As for any possibility of him leaving Happy Valley for potentially bigger things, Shively said he thinks the grass is still plenty green on this side of the hill.
“Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise, I will still be here for a while,” said Shively. “We’ve got really good kids, and the administration is very supportive. And the community is very supportive. It’s a really good situation.”
Happy Valley’s first big test will come in a scrimmage Aug. 5 against Tennessee High at home. Shively said his bunch will stay away from the 7-on-7 passing tournaments this year.
“I’m not big on the kids playing touch football in their underwear,” said Shively with a laugh. “We will just lay off of that stuff.”
As for enthusiasm, Shively said his kids have plenty of that.
“We will have youthful exuberance,” he said. “A lot of young guys will be challenging for playing time.”
n This is the final week of the TSSAA’s dead period.
But when July 11 rolls around, it’s a full go for golf practice. That sport begins the regular season on July 25.
Football teams can’t get out in full pads until Aug. 1. That’s also the date of first practice for girls soccer, cross country and volleyball.
n Classification changes have been made across the state for the 2011 football season.
Among the notables are Antioch and Ooltewah each dropping from Class 6A to Class 5A, and Nashville’s Cane Ridge bumping the other direction from 5A to 6A.
Chattanooga’s Grace Baptist Academy dropped from 2A to A while Knoxville’s Grace Christian Academy jumped from 1A to 2A.
In another move, the TSSAA Board of Control voted to split the 10-team District 13 into east-west divisions to help with football scheduling. Notable football programs in that district include Milan, Martin Westview, Ripley and Crockett County.
Douglas Fritz is a sports writer for the Johnson City Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org