Rankin selected to TSSAA Hall of Fame

The scary thing is Gary Rankin is a long way from being done.

The 2011 TSSAA Hall of Fame inductees have been selected, the association announced in a release on Tuesday. Included in this year’s 12-member class is Alcoa’s Rankin, who is closing on a pair of the state’s most hallowed records.

Those being inducted at this year’s luncheon are Alcoa’s Rankin; Ronnie Carter, administrator from Pleasant View; O’Neal Henley, administrator from Jackson; Tommy Layne, administrator from Dunlap; Robert “Bud” Raikes, administrator from Smyrna; J. C. Campbell, coach from Roan Mountain; Johnny Morgan, coach from Etowah; the late Jake Rudolph, coach from Memphis; Don Lady, official from Bluff City; Don Sutton, official from Memphis; Jean Griffith, contributor from Nashville; and Larry Taft, contributor from Nashville.

Rankin has been a successful football coach for 35 years, with previous stops at Warren County, Smith County and Riverdale high schools. He’s honored by the Hall selection, Rankin said, but that’s not why he does it.

“I never got into it for stuff like that,” he said. “I’m real humble about stuff like that. Football is a team sport and a lot of players and coaches are a part of that.

“It’s a great honor. It’s a compliment to the schools where I’ve been, the coaches I’ve assembled and stayed with me for a while and the players I’ve had. I feel blessed.”

Rankin has 323 victories in his career, 33 back of former St. George coach Ken Netherland’s state record. His nine state titles are one off the all-time mark, held by former Brentwood Academy coach Carlton Flatt.

After being named Tennessee Titans Coach of the Year last month, Rankin said he hopes to coach at least another 10 years.

Rankin’s Alcoa teams have won the state championship each year since he arrived in 2006. His Riverdale teams were 5A State Champions in 1994 1997, 2001, and 2004.

Rankin has coached 13 Mr. Football Award winners — including former Tornadoes Chris Shiverdecker (2006), Randall Cobb (2007), Tyler Robinson (2008) and Darrell Warren (2010). Former Tornado JaRon Toney was named the 2009 Gatorade State Player of the Year.

For his efforts, Rankin has been awarded numerous coach of the year honors, including twice being named national high school coach of the year. Rankin has also served as an athletics director and is now an assistant principal at Alcoa along with his football coaching duties.

This year’s Hall of Fame class will be inducted at the annual luncheon at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro on April 9 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $25 and will go on sale on Feb. 28 and may be purchased by visiting the TSSAA website (www.tssaa.org).

Please print off the ticket form and mail it to our office along with a check or money order. All ticket orders will be available for pickup on the day of the luncheon. There will be no ticket sales at the door.

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