McCallie (Tenn.) head coach Troy Kemp will be stepping down at the end of this season to take an administrative role at Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
He has been at McCallie since 1992 and has served in many roles including teacher, dean of admissions, football coach, lacrosse coach and more.
Kemp is in his 27th season as the head coach at McCallie and has cemented himself as one of the most renown high school coaches in Tennessee, the South, and across the nation. Kemp has led the Tornadoes to 10 Tennessee State Championships and has been named the Tennessee Scholastic Lacrosse Association (TSLA) Coach of The Year three times.
Through his years as the head coach at McCallie Kemp has built the Tornadoes into a state, regional, and national powerhouse. Bringing in and developing some of the best lacrosse players and athletes in the country Kemp has found much success.
It’s not just his success at McCalie that will leave a lasting legacy. Kemp has helped grow the lacrosse community in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the South as a whole. From starting Chattanooga lacrosse to his work with Nation United, Coach Kemp has been and will continue to be a positive impact in the sport.
Eamon Thorton will take over as the head coach at McCallie next season. Thorton is a 2002 McCallie grad and played in college at Hampden-Sydney. Thorton has coached lacrosse over seas in England and coached the Switzerland national team.
Thorton has been an assistant at McCallie and will be making that jump to head coach next season. In a release by McCallie coach Kemp stated that he is leaving the program in good hands.
The high school lacrosse season is on the horizon and this season there are some very good teams across the country that will be very competitive not only in their state or region, but nationally as well. Of course some of the traditional powers will be on this list, but there are also some teams that the casual fan might not know all the much about.
*Note: List is in no particular order.*
Culver Military Academy (IN)
Culver has been one of the most dominant high school teams in the country for the better part of about a decade or so. They always have some of the best players from the US and Canada on their team and Coach Posner does a great job of coaching them up and getting all that talent to play as one unit. Being a Military boarding school helps with that as well I should say. This season the Eagles have 19 current division one commits and more to come on this 2019 squad. This team has future pro’s at every position and it will be very hard for any team to stop them. After watching Culver about four times last season and seeing what they have back, I honestly think this may be the best Culver team we have seen to date.
The Hill Academy (ON)
The Hill Academy out of Ontario has won the first two Geico High School Lacrosse Nationals. Each year Hill get’s more talent and keeps getting better. The Merrill’s have built something special with the Hill Academy and that just keeps on continuing. With 13 current Division one commits on their roster the Hill looks just as good as ever. Just like many other sports centric prep schools they have future college stars and pro’s all over the place and they are going to win and win a lot. No doubt about that. I honestly can’t wait to see how this Hill team has improved with some of their younger studs back from last year.
IMG Academy (FL)
Yeah, it was a shaky year for IMG in 2018 as they didn’t have near the amount of success they were looking for. Fortunately for the Ascenders they have a lot of talent back, as expected of a school like IMG, and they are looking to rebound. With 11 players currently committed to play Division One lacrosse IMG will be competitors on the national stage again this season, and hopefully improve a lot from last year.
The prep school out of Connecticut has pro and Division one talent all up and down the field. The Crimson Knights do lose a lot of great players from last season, but they return just as much talent as they lost with 20 players currently committed to play Division One lacrosse. Salisbury looks to be right up there again this season competing for a national championship along with the rest of the big boys as usual. They will be led by senior midfielder and Duke commit Connor Drake, amongst others.
Calvert Hall (MD)
Calvert Hall is a perennial power in the MIAA and always have a lot of talent, even though they graduated a slew of seniors in 2018. The Cardinals are coming off of two straight MIAA A conference championship’s and have a ton of talent back, as always. The Cardinals are led by 2019 Ohio State commits midfielder Grant Mitchell and defenseman Jacob Snyder.
Ponte Vedra (FL)
The Sharks look to be the favorites to win it all in Florida this year as they have one of the best teams in the country and play a pretty tough schedule as well with teams like Calvert Hall (MD), Episcopal Dallas (TX), and others on the schedule. The Sharks will be led by junior midfielders Dylan Hess who is committed to Georgetown and Carter Parlette who is a Notre Dame commit, as well as a whole host of other player heading to DI schools.
A power in the south McCallie is loaded with talent this season just as they have been in the past as well. Head Coach Troy Kemp and the Blue Tornado feature eight current DI commits this season. They are for sure the favorite in Division I in Tennessee this season. They are led by senior defenseman Cam Henry who is heading to Duke, senior midfielder and Ohio State commit Eli Ensor. as well as junior midfielder’s Carter Henry who is heading to Yale and Rutgers commit Ellison Burt-Murray.
Episcopal School of Dallas (TX)
The Eagles have a new coaching staff and a boat load of talent coming into this 2019 season. Many have already said that there is no doubt that Episcopal Dallas (TX) will be in the state championship this season. They will be led by one of the best defenses in the country with senior’s Scott Bower who is heading to Virginia and Ohio State commit Carson Raney.
Torrey Pines (CA)
Regional and national powerhouse Torrey Pines is back and looking to be great again this season with another very tough national schedule. The Falcons have a lot of talent as always and will be led by senior midfielder Michael Mines who is committed to Ohio State, as well as many other DI commits.
After winning the IAC championship in 2018 Bullis looks to repeat as they return some great talent on both sides of the ball. They will be led by junior midfielder and Jacksonville commit Immanuel Brown, as well as senior attackman Robert Schain who is headed to Penn.
The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA), the governing body of high school sports in Tennessee, held their Legislative Council December meeting today. One of the votes on the table was whether or not to add boy’s and girl’s lacrosse as a sanctioned high school sport in Tennessee. The votes came in and were in favor of lacrosse. That means that lacrosse will be a sanctioned high school sport starting with the 2021-22 school year.
At the TSSAA regional meetings last month the proposal to add boy’s and girl’s lacrosse passed with a 229-129 vote in favor of sanctioning the sport. That vote sent the proposal to the Legislative Council who made the final decision, and that was yes.
With this vote Tennessee is now the 23rd state to sanction the sport at the high school level. In the south Tennessee joins Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina as the southern states that sanction the sport. (Excluding Maryland)
The only states in the south that don’t sanction lacrosse now are Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Lacrosse becoming sanctioned in Tennessee is great for the sport as it shows that it is growing. There are also some downsides to this decision as well as upsides. The public schools will have more of a benefit than the private schools due to this decision.
McCallie Head Coach Troy Kemp told Lacrosse Bucket, “Public schools are more likely to receive the budgets, coaches and facilities they need to improve and grow their programs. Unfortunately, many of the TSSAA rules bylaws don’t reflect the needs and concerns of private schools.” Overall, it is great to see the game growing and gaining more recognition from organizations like the TSSAA. Tennessee is just another domino to fall in states sanctioning high school lacrosse.
Here is the Proposal that the Legislative Council had in from of them today
Proposed Addition to the TSSAA Sports Calendar:
This proposal is requesting that TSSAA sanction the sport of Lacrosse for Boys and Girls beginning with the next classification cycle. This would be effective at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
Rationale: Boys and Girls Lacrosse has existed in the state of Tennessee since the late 1980s. Lacrosse has grown over the past 2 decades from a handful of teams to close to 50 teams each for both boys and girls, and there are far more middle school and youth teams that are feeding players into established programs and new programs alike. US Lacrosse registered players in TN are currently: Boys HS: 920, Boys Youth: 1848, Girls HS: 664, Girls Youth: 863. The numbers overwhelmingly support the continued growth at the high school level. Over 23 states nationwide have sanctioned lacrosse including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, and Missouri (girls only) which border Tennessee. The growth in the past ten years has been exponential at the youth level creating a surge in the number of programs at the high school level.
The current schools playing lacrosse are split into public and private school divisions on the boys side. The girls are considering a similar split for the state playoffs into private/public schools for the spring 2019. There are currently 20 teams in the boys private school division and 27 teams playing in the public school division. On the girls side, there are 21 private schools and 26 public schools. There are teams from all areas of the state from Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and four new teams in the Tri-cities. The current governing bodies of the boys (TSLA) and girls (TGLA) league are made up of all volunteers and as the sport continues to grow becomes harder and harder to manage. Lacrosse has been following NFHS rules and aligning their respective leagues to mirror what the TSSAA would potentially classify them as. As there has been much growth in the past few years and much growth to occur, we feel the time is right for the safety and fairness of the players, coaches, fans, and administrators to adopt Lacrosse into the TSSAA.
First practice date is Monday of NFHS Week 33. Start of regular season is Monday of NFHS Week 35. End of regular season is Friday of NFHS Week 44. The maximum number of games is 18. (Submitted by University School of Nashville)
At the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) regional meetings last week a proposal that lacrosse be added as a sanctioned sport was voted on by the schools. That vote came out 229-129 in favor of sanctioning lacrosse.
This doesn’t mean it’s officially yet but lacrosse is on the path towards becoming sanctioned in Tennessee. On December 5th the TSSAA Legislative Council will meet and have their vote on the proposal to sanction lacrosse. If the vote is proposal passes then lacrosse will become a sanctioned sport by the TSSAA starting at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Currently the Tennessee Scholastic Lacrosse Association (TSLA) is the governing body of lacrosse in Tennessee and the league that high school and middle school teams play in. There are currently around 43 boy’s teams and 48 girl’s teams at the high school level across the state.
If the proposal does pass on December 5th, which sources say is highly likely at the moment, Tennessee will become the 23rd state in the country to sanction lacrosse at the high school level and the 6th in the south.
States like Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina have sanctioned the sports and have since seen tremendous growth in numbers and talent. Some of the best players are starting to come out states like Florida and Georgia. In the west Utah announced back in 2017 that they would start to sanction lacrosse starting at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.
Tennessee sanctioning lacrosse could start a domino effect in the south and across the country. After Tennessee Kentucky looks to be next state that would sanction lacrosse as far as souther states go. Other places like Wisconsin, Missouri, Washington, and Texas would likely follow suit as well. If this does pull through and Tennessee does sanction lacrosse it will be a win, win, win for the sport.