After the TSSAA convened Nov. 15 and the decisions on districts were made, the Warren County High School athletic program found out it would be saying good-bye to Coffee County and hello to Stone Memorial and Rhea County.
District 6-AAA, which has featured Warren County, Coffee County, Cookeville, Cumberland County and White County the last four years, will change starting in the 2013-14 school year and Pioneer and Lady Pioneer teams will no longer do battle in district with their Highway 55 rivals.
Warren County stayed in District 6-AAA, along with Cookeville, Cumberland County and White County, but Coffee County will be moving to a new district. Stone Memorial, the second high school in Crossville, and Rhea County High School will be new foes for Warren County the next four years.
Districts are decided in four-year increments and Warren County High School athletic director Todd Willmore knew District 6-AAA could be seeing some changes.
While Willmore welcomes the two new schools, the inclusion of Rhea County - located in East Tennessee - was puzzling.
“I’m fine with the schools in our district and think we have solid opponents, but several people voiced concerns about including Rhea County,” said Willmore. “It bothers me because transportation will be an issue. We will have to travel over two mountains and time changes on the way. It’s a shame our voices weren’t heard.”
The idea to add Rhea County was rejected by several schools in the district.
Two proposals were made for the new district and neither included Rhea County. The first proposal was to keep the district intact while adding Stone Memorial as a sixth team.
A second, more drastic, proposal called for a complete overhaul where Warren County would be grouped with Coffee County, Lincoln County, Franklin County, Tullahoma and Shelbyville.
Willmore knew the second idea was farfetched as it would mean District 8-AAA, which includes Columbia and Lawrence County, would be completely reshaped.
“Lots of people liked what we had, and Stone Memorial being in Crossville with Cumberland County made sense,” said Willmore. “The second idea would have meant Columbia and Lawrence County would have to move. It’s tough because Lawrence County, to borrow a line from ‘O Brother Where Art Thou,’ is a geographical oddity.”
While Warren County will no longer have guaranteed games against Coffee County on its sports schedules, the rivalry with the Red Raiders could be saved.
Plans of playing out-of-district games with Coffee County are already in the works and the Red Raiders could be featured on schedules as early as football season next fall.
All district changes will not take place until the start of the 2013-14 school year.