The Chattanooga area’s all-time greatest high school football coaches, as ranked by the Times Free Press sports staff:
1. E.B. “Red” Etter (Central 1943-69, Baylor 1970-83)
Overall record: 324-102-12
Etter won more football games than any coach in Chattanooga-area history and ranks second all-time in Tennessee. His teams at Central won seven mythical state championships from 1943 through 1969. At Baylor he won state and national titles in 1973.
2. Bill Chappell (Dalton 1965-98)
Overall record: 317-74-9
Chappell became a charter member of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame when he retired after a 44-year career. Under his leadership, the Catamounts never had a losing season and won a state title, were runners-up five times and earned seven sectional championships and five region titles.
3. Benny Monroe (McMinn County 1974-76, Cleveland 1979-96, Ooltewah 2005-09)
Overall record: 259-65
After the TSSAA expanded to five classifications, the Blue Raiders claimed the first three Class 4A crowns and had a 54-game winning streak at one time. They advanced to the playoffs in each of his last 12 years and outscored opponents by an average of 45-8 in their 1993 state-title run. He averaged nine wins per season at Ooltewah, guiding the Owls to the 5A semifinals twice.
4. Ken Colquette (Bridgeport 1977-79, Marion County 1980-96, Vidalia 1997-99, Grundy County 2001-04)
Overall record: 249-81
No area coach won more championships or proved to be tougher to follow. After twice finishing state runner-up in the 1980s, Marion County won four state titles in the 1990s, going 56-1 at one point. The Warriors went nine years before winning a playoff game after his departure. He led Grundy County to a region title and to the quarterfinals for only the second time in program history.
5. Vic Grider (South Pittsburg 1997-present)
Overall record: 148-33
The Pirates have averaged nearly 11 wins per season under Grider, with three state championships, one runner-up finish and eight trips to at least the quarterfinals. The Pirates went 15-0 in two of their state-title seasons, and in the four years since the TSSAA implemented a 35-point mercy rule, the Pirates have invoked that rule against 39 of 55 opponents.
6. Ralph Potter (Baylor 1994-96, McCallie 1997-2006, Brentwood Academy 2007-present)
Overall record: 134-65
He played quarterback for his father, the late Pete Potter, and returned to guide his alma mater to its only state championship. The Blue Tornado averaged nearly nine wins in his 10 years and were Division II-AA runners-up his final season there. He has taken Brentwood Academy to two state finals in four years.
7. Tom Weathers (Red Bank 1973-2001, Dade County 2002-03, Soddy-Daisy 2004-07)
Overall record: 251-131
Although he ran one of the most consistently strong programs in the area, there was a time Red Bank seemed jinxed in the playoffs. But the Lions dismissed that notion in 2000 by claiming the Class 5A championship, earning a spot in USA Today’s national top 15. Weathers also guided the team to a runner-up finish in 1978.
8. Hal Lamb (Calhoun 1999-present)
Overall record: 133-43
The Yellow Jackets have won 10 consecutive region championships and been Class AA state runners-up four times, including three in a row. Lamb has guided the program to at least 10 wins every year since 2001, and Calhoun routinely turns out multiple college signees.
9. Wayne Turner (Kirkman 1989-90, Tyner 1991-present)
Overall record: 171-88
Few teams have been as successful throughout the past 20 years as the Rams, who have been in the playoffs every season since 1993, averaging nine wins per season. The Rams won the 1997 Class 2A state title, one year after finishing runners-up in 3A.
10. Phillip Lolley (Warrior Academy 1978-82, Stevenson 1984-87, North Jackson 1988-98)
Overall record: 152-54
Before becoming an assistant coach at Auburn University, Lolley established one of the premier prep programs in the area. His teams never missed the playoffs, and the Chiefs were a threat to win the championship every season he was there, claiming Alabama’s Class 4A title in 1993.
Chattanooga Area’s Top Active Coaches:
1. Vic Grider (South Pittsburg, 148-33): Has averaged 11 wins in his 14 years, with three state titles.
2. Hal Lamb (Calhoun, 133-43 overall): Won 10 consecutive region titles and four-time state runner-up.
3. Wayne Turner (Tyner, 171-88 overall): 20 straight playoff appearances, one state title and a runner-up.
4. Tim Daniels (Red Bank, 142-61): Claimed five region or district championships in the last six seasons.
5. Derrick Davis (Polk County, 86-38): Averaged nine wins over the last decade, including the Wildcats’ only unbeaten regular season.
6. Bill Price (Signal Mountain, 137-95 overall): Led the fledgling Eagles to a state championship faster than any program in TSSAA history.
7. Robert Akins (Ringgold, 219-128 overall): Built Boyd-Buchanan into a powerhouse, now working to do the same with the Tigers.
8. Grant Reynolds (Boyd-Buchanan, 40-25): Has taken the Bucs to a state final and advanced at least to the quarterfinals the last three years.
9. Phil Massey (Baylor, 96-59 overall): Been to three state semifinals in the last five years; was runner-up last season.
10. Shawn Peek (North Jackson, 72-58 overall): Won region titles in two of the last three years; advanced to semifinals last season.