published Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Marion County coach Troy Boeck dismissed

Less than a week after the season came to a disappointing end, Marion County High School administrators made Troy Boeck the area's first prep football coaching casualty of the fall.

Boeck had been the Warriors' coach for four seasons, guiding them to the semifinals and quarterfinals in his first two seasons before a drop in talent led to a 5-6 record in 2010 and a program-worst 1-9 finish this year, getting outscored by an average of 45-18 and missing the playoffs for only the second time in 28 years.

"We started eight freshmen and had only two senior starters, so we made a lot of mistakes that you make when you play so many young kids. Heck, we averaged six fumbles per game," said Boeck, who compiled a 24-23 overall record at Marion and made the playoffs in three of his four seasons. "When we had great athletes we accomplished great things. Ultimately I take responsibility for the demise of the program, but I did everything I could short of recruiting kids from Alabama or Chattanooga like other programs.

"I would like to see the program get back on its feet, and I believe we have a lot of positive things in place to get things turned around."

Marion County was the winningest program in the area during the 1990s, claiming four state titles from 1990 to '95. But when Boeck was promoted from his assistant's role in February 2008, he became the program's sixth coach in 11 years. His four-year tenure is the longest of any coach since Ken Colquette resigned in 1996.

"Troy started with a great first year, but he took a small step back each year after that and then took a huge step back this year," Marion County athletic director and assistant principal Larry Ziegler said. "It wasn't all Troy's fault, but as the head coach he's ultimately responsible for the state of the program.

"We appreciate the hard work that Coach Boeck put forth and truly wish this would have worked out as a long-term coaching solution. It's nothing personal, we just felt it was the right time to make a change."

An Augusta, Ga., native, Boeck played at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (1986-91), earning All-America honors his final two seasons, and was the last UTC football player to be a Southern Conference player of the year. After coaching at Rhodes College for four years, and coached in the Arena Football League for one year. He was an assistant at Baylor School for two and South Pittsburg for eight before coming to Marion in 2007.

Boeck guided the team to an 11-3 record in his first season, reaching the semifinals, where they lost at eventual state champion Alcoa. That was the first time the Warriors had advanced past the second round in 13 years and they followed that by reaching the quarterfinals the next season before losing at eventual state runner-up Boyd-Buchanan.

The Warriors had 65 players at summer workouts, but that number fell to 49 to start the season and when they lined up against Chattanooga Christian for the season-finale last Friday, they dressed-out only 29 players. Marion had eight freshmen start this season and finished the year with just two senior starters.

Boeck alluded to a lack of support from the administration as a reason for the program's decline.

"I went to [principal] Sherry Prince before the season and explained how good football programs have weightlifting during the afternoon to work out before practice," Boeck said. "When she said no, I asked what the difference was between having football players in an afternoon weightlifting class and band members going to a music class and she told me that wouldn't work the same because the kids in band were smart and the football kids needed to be in class.

"That's the kind of support we needed to get things turned around. What I'm most disappointed with isn't just the fact that they decided to make a move, but nobody sat down and talked with me about what the issues were. I saw Mrs. Prince four times today and she never said a word to me. I didn't know until Coach Ziegler approached me in the afternoon."

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...

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marionfan said...

High five coach! I wonder why one bad season puts you out of a coaching position?A successful program does require support from administration, Coach, assistant coaches, students, players, fans and parents: we came up short this yr; peprallies at 730 is just one example; but children do go to school for an education sports and band is just an extra; the band kids grades may be better than the players but probably because they have 1 class less to study for and they how get home right after school and have more study time; I also wonder if anyone asked the boys what they thought the problems were? You could see has been coaches coming and going to games seemed to have more interest this yr; wonder what part they actually played? and the dissatisfied parents who complained about playing time? We can wonder all day, but can't hit the undo button. the axe has fallen and we must move forward and we will; for many of us with great sadness; Coach Boeck's family was a huge part of Marion County football and they all will be missed especially on friday nights; Best of luck Coach

October 27, 2011 at 9:31 a.m.
utsportsfan said...


October 27, 2011 at 10:12 a.m.
marionfan said...

dear utsportsfan why would we want to take program back 10yrs? JUST SAYING!!!!!

October 27, 2011 at 10:23 a.m.
marionfan said...


October 27, 2011 at 10:26 a.m.
OrangePride said...

Coach I hate to see you go but keep your head up you did all you could do for a dying program! Jasper ya'll had the best coach ya'll have had in a long time and I dont see the program getting much better in the coming years no matter who is coaching there cause you need talent and heart to win ball games and the players just didn't show a lot of that during any game this year! Good Luck Coach I'll always have your back!

October 27, 2011 at 10:56 a.m.
athlete0624 said...

The obvious choice for Jasper is to go after Eric Westmoreland

October 27, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.
mcfootball01 said...

westmorland would be good.where is he now?what about assistant gudger is he in the picture?

October 27, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
athlete0624 said...

Eric is at Baylor

October 27, 2011 at 2:40 p.m.
mcfootball01 said...

when will the job be posted and when will they name a head coach? will they also get a baseball coach ?? time 4 a BIG CHANGE here.......

October 27, 2011 at 3:11 p.m.
tennesseegirl said...

Amen OrangePride!!! You are exactly right I have been saying the same thing for the last two seasons. You will never win without TALENT and it's just not there. You will never find a better coach than Boeck! I can't believe how foolish you all have been to get rid of and treat Coach Boeck this way!! I seen it coming for months though all the signs were there. It's just good ol boy Marion County Politics as usual!! I hope it comes back to bite you in the rear!!!

October 28, 2011 at 12:48 a.m.
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