It is all about familiarity on Warrior Hill for the upcoming gridiron season.
Happy Valley High School has promoted Jason Jarrett to head coach of the football program effective Tuesday, Jan. 20. Jarrett replaces Larry Shively, who was at the helm of the Warrior program for the past five seasons.
The new head coach credits the time with Shively as preparation for the next step.
“It was a phenomenal experience working with coach Shively the past five years,” Jarrett said. “He’s a great coach and an even better man and I’m sad to see him go from the program. It was a big family decision. I’m from Happy Valley and my wife, Audrey, is also from the school. We have two small kids so it was a process. A lot of prayers were sent during that time.
“At the end of the day it came down to the relationship with the kids and the community,” he said. “Warrior Nation has given so much to me and my family and now we’re going to give back.”
Jarrett, a 2001 graduate from the school, served as an assistant coach with the Warriors for the past 10 years. During his playing days, he was a multi-sport athlete, playing basketball and football. On the gridiron, Jarrett was a quarterback and defensive back.
The experiences on the field, along with being favorite amongst the players, will be big for Jarrett going forward, Happy Valley athletic director Matt Estep said.
“Coach Jarrett is a great for our program,” he added. “The kids love him and that familiarity will help him as awe head into a new district. I know I’m looking forward to working with him It is a well-deserved promotion.
The Warriors finished 2-8 last season in the Three Rivers Conference, winning their final two games of the year against Unicoi County and Sullivan North.
For the upcoming 2015 season, the Warriors will enter the new Region 2A – District 1 league as one of the projected favorites. The Warriors share the league with Hampton, Sullivan North, South Greene, North Greene, Gatlinburg-Pittman, Cumberland Gap and Cosby.
“Dropping down in classification doesn’t translate into victories,” Jarrett said. “The past five years we were going against some of the top powerhouses, like Elizabethton and Sullivan South. It doesn’t change when go to 2A against teams like Hampton and Gatlinburg-Pittman.
“We can’t worry about that right now. Our goal is to focus on ourselves, have our players buy into the system and become the ultimate Warrior for fans to see and bring back the Warrior pride from before.”
The whirlwind doesn’t stop for Jarrett, either. After the announcement, the process began for assembling a coaching staff for next year.
“That’s our goal,” he said. “We’re going to get a new staff in place. Then we’re getting to sit and talk and implement a system on both sides of the ball that will put us in the best situation to win.”
Happy Valley opens the 2015 season against Cloudland.