LOG MOUNTAIN — Bell County High School has a new athletic director. Former Frakes principal Steve Ely officially took over as an assistant principal and AD at BCHS on Wednesday.
Ely says that his goal for the athletic department is simply to excel in every sport.
“I think our goal as an athletic department is going to have to be excellence. It’s not about winning state championships every year, but we should be consistently the best in the district and fighting for regional championships,” he said.
Ely explained that he feels the school has the students to succeed and that has shown to be true over the years. Football won their most recent state championship in 2008 and is consistently a top three or four team in their class. The boys’ basketball team won the 13th Region just two years ago and the baseball team was 13th Region champions in in 2009. Girls cross country won a pair of state championships in 2005 and 2007 and the track team also has a long tradition of success. Girls’ basketball is on the upswing and has earned a reputation as a top contender in the region year-in and year out.
“Over the years they’ve grown accustomed to success and football is out in front, but they’re used to winning in everything. As a school and athletic department our goal has to be that we should compete and win districts whether it’s girls’ soccer, basketball or football,” Ely said. “That should be the level we’re playing on. We have the students and the people in this county to make that happen.”
Striving for athletic excellence is about than county pride for Ely. He wants to expand the opportunities for the athletes at Bell to play sports in college.
“It’s important to give the kids the experience of competing on a higher level. If they’re going to go to college then it’s really important to have that kind of experience and get that kind of exposure,” he said. “I believe we owe these kids that spend years of extra time the opportunity to use that to advance themselves to the college level. It’s so expensive that any kind of aid you can get, whether it’s academic or athletic, everybody needs it.”
The move happened after former AD Tom Greer resigned to take a position with Corbin Independent Schools.
Ely said Bell principal Richard Gambrel first approached him about making the move.
“Richard was looking for the right person to help him on a couple of different levels, not just as assistant principal. He and I and (superintendent) Yvonne Gilliam spoke and went through the process and they chose me,” he said. “I consider it an honor and I’m really excited about getting back with high school kids. I’m going to miss the kids and staff at Frakes, but I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t been involved with what’s going on at Bell High since my youngest son graduated.”