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This One’s For You, Coach

Tornadoes rout Pigeon Forge to earn Rankin 400th win

Alcoa takes the field a well-motivated team Friday night at Goodard Field. Photos by Cindy Nowlin

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Benny Hammonds retired last season.

George Quarles is in college now.

Alcoa coach Gary Rankin reflects on an historic 36-year career that reach 400 wins Friday night.

If Gary Rankin stopped right now, any coach in the state would have to go 15-0 for the next 10 years — just to get close.

Rankin, already the winningest coach in Tennessee prep football history, recorded win No. 400 when Alcoa shut out Pigeon Forge, 52-0, on Friday at Goddard Field.

Hammonds retired last fall after 46 seasons — 45 of them with Gatlinburg-Pittman — with 347 coaching victories. Quarles went 250-16 in 18 seasons at Maryville before leaving for an assistant head coaching position at Furman, his alma mater.

Those were the only two with a shot.

Now, it’s possible someone could go 150-0 over the next decade and join Rankin as Tennessee’s lone inductee in the 400 club. It’s possible, but not likely.

Congratulations, coach!

Went sent photographer Cindy Nowlin along to document the historic night. Enjoys the photos.

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