By Steve Williams
Josh Kerr and Clinton High’s football coaching staff have had the entire off-season to get ready for Thursday night’s game against visiting Oak Ridge and Tee Higgins, one of the nation’s top rated wide receivers. It’s a scenario that’s right down Kerr’s alley, too.
“One piece of advice that my dad told me that I always remember and try to use is don’t let them outwork you,” said Josh via e-mail. “(The opponent) might be better in other areas, but they will not outwork us.”
That priority produced winning results through the years for Larry Kerr, Josh’s father. At the top of his list of accomplishments is coaching Halls to the Class AAA state championship in 1986. The upcoming season marks the 30-year anniversary of that title.
“There are so many things looking back that I take away from watching him, playing for him and working for him,” added Josh. “He’s been a great role model for me growing up and also to work hard to try to become.”
Larry Kerr became one of the winningest coaches in the area over the years, starting out at Lake City High (1975 to 1980), and then going to Halls (1981 to 1992) before returning to Anderson County, which consolidated Lake City and Norris high schools, where he coached the longest (1993 to 2008).
That’s a total of 33 seasons and close to 250 wins, noted Josh Kerr.
“Another thing my dad was great at was understanding his players and how to motivate them,” pointed out Josh. “He had a knack for getting the most out of his players and developing great relationships with them.
“He was hard on them, demanding, but they knew he cared about them. That’s one of the most important lessons he taught me in becoming a coach.”
As he follows in his father’s footsteps, Kerr is early in his career. He’s entering his sixth season as head coach at Clinton. Prior to that, he directed the White County High program in Sparta for two seasons.
Josh was a youngster during the 1986 season when Halls beat Germantown 17-15 in the finals. At that time, Class AAA was one of only three classifications in Tennessee and the state’s largest.
That same year Austin-East brought home the Class AA state crown after defeating Brentwood Academy 28-20.
Kerr was an offensive lineman for his dad at Anderson County. He went to Georgia to start his collegiate career and later transferred to ETSU.
Kerr was 3-17 in his two years at White County. His record at Clinton is 17-35. The Dragons qualified for the playoffs out of Region 3-5A last season.
HEADLINERS: Week 1 attractions involving local teams on Friday night will include Karns at Bearden, The King’s Academy at Seymour, Greeneville at Anderson County, Halls at Carter, Campbell County at Gibbs, Jefferson County at Grace Christian Academy, Maryville at Heritage, Hardin Valley at West, Powell at Farragut and Alcoa at Webb School.
A Saturday doubleheader at Burke-Toney Stadium in Morristown pits Catholic vs. Morristown West and Fulton vs. Morristown East.