KNOXVILLE — Concord Christian begins their process of reinstating a high school team August 9.
In May, Concord Christian announced plans to place a halt on their high school football program and to place an emphasis for two seasons on their middle school program. The process will help build towards a better high school program in 2020 after fielding a varsity team the last three seasons, going 0-29 during that span.
Ryan Bolinger has been named head coach and started a ‘Vision 20/20’ process.
The current middle school team is made up of 20 players and will open their season at the Christian Academy of Knoxville.
“Our expectation now is to keep the numbers up and add to it,” Bolinger told Vols Wire. “So next year our goal is to have a middle school and JV team and then in two years having enough kids to have a varsity team.”
Bolinger served as offensive coordinator for Concord Christian in 2017.
“Last year we played with 20 guys and had some injuries and then we were playing with 14-15 guys,” he said. “Going into this season, that was how it was looking again. Our new athletic director Bruce Johnson came in, and I understood where he was coming from, hitting reset and focusing on our middle school program for a year or so.”
Bolinger began his coaching career at Tennessee as a defensive graduate assistant under Phillip Fulmer, learning under defensive coordinator John Chavis and working with UT’s defensive line and special teams.
“I had an offer from Coach Steve Caldwell the defensive ends coach,” Bolinger said of getting on at Tennessee initially. “I knew in high school I wanted to coach in college and not play past high school. We met and he said if I wanted I could come to UT and work with our graduate assistants and that is how it got started.”
After working on film breakdowns with graduate assistants, Chavis then asked Bolinger if he wanted to sit in on linebacker meetings and go to practices. That is when Fulmer hired him as a graduate assistant.
Then-UT athletics director Mike Hamilton made a head coaching change from Fulmer to Lane Kiffin following the 2008 season. When Kiffin came in, he immediately cleaned house with his own staff, but it did not take long for Bolinger to be re-hired after not being retained.
Eventually Bolinger was promoted after only three months to the title of Assistant to the Head Coach under Kiffin.
Photo: 2009 UT Media Guide
“When Lane came in, he originally let go of all the graduate assistants, all six of us,” Bolinger said. “Probably about four weeks later, I got a phone call from him wanting to bring me back for a different position. It was not as a graduate assistant, but full-time and off the field.
“So I worked with defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, as a defensive staff assistant. Then three months later Lane promoted me under him as an offensive assistant to learn offense.”
After Kiffin left Tennessee following the 2009 season, Bolinger worked with athletes doing private coaching lessons, was also a SAQ director working with kids 7-18 and spent one year working for the Cleveland Browns as a quarterback analyst.