Loveday tabbed to sculpt Northview Academy football
After knowing only Purple and White for the past 14 years, Sevier County High athletic director and assistant principal Todd Loveday will trade in the colors of his alma mater for the Green and Gold of Northview Academy next season.
Loveday, 37, will be the first head coach of the Northview Academy Cougars football team, and will mold the new school’s program with a target date for 2015 varsity football.
Though Loveday said he’s genuinely loved his time with the Smoky Bears — where he’s grown under head coach Steve Brewer — he’s ready to move on.
“It’s the right situation and the right time,” Loveday said Saturday. “There’s never really a perfect time to leave, but if there’s anything close to perfect this is it.”
At the new school Loveday will face the challenge of building a high school program from scratch, and that’s a chance he relishes.
“I’m excited about some of the unknowns and challenges that arise with a new place,” Loveday said. “I just feel like I’ve prepared myself my whole career to do something like this. I just want to get in there on day one and start working to establish the kind of work ethic that we’ve got to have (to be successful).
“The bonus is (Northview Academy) is brand new. There’s nothing to clean up, there’s nobody’s shoes to fill, there’s nothing to change. You can put your own stamp to it, build it from the ground up, year-by-year, and do it the right way.”
A former Smoky Bears player, Loveday returned to the sidelines as an assistant at SCHS 14 seasons ago, and for the past seven years he’s been the school’s athletic director, all the while serving as strength and conditioning and defensive backs coach for the Bears.
It’s those unique attributes that led Northview Academy principal Greg Clark to choose Loveday.
“Todd is well-respected in the community and brings with him a tremendous educational background and a great experience base in the development and implementation of athletic programs,” Clark said in a press release. “I feel that his days under the tutelage of Coach Steve Brewer at SCHS will serve him well as we work together to develop our athletic program at Northview Academy.”
As for Brewer, he seemed genuinely happy for one of his long-time protégés.
“There’s not a more deserving guy,” Brewer said by phone Saturday. “He’s obviously worked for it, he’s capable, and I hate to see him leave.”
Brewer wasn’t blindsided by the move, as he’s known Loveday had a desire to be a head coach. And, Brewer said, if he were looking for a man to start a program, he’d look Loveday’s way.
“Certainly if I was starting a program, he’d be somebody I’d look at,” Brewer said. “I think they made a wise choice.
“He’s done a terrific job (for us),” he continued. “It’s certainly going to be a loss for our program. Not just coaching on the field, but with the players off the field, and certainly in the weight room.
“We didn’t have a lot of injuries this year, and I think some of that is due to his strength and conditioning program and having our guys ready.”
While Loveday’s Cougars won’t compete at the varsity level until next year’s freshmen are juniors, there’s plenty of work to be done between now and then.
To begin with, Loveday will have to meld the Cougars crop of middle schoolers into future high school players while building a staff and continuing a winning middle school tradition.
Loveday and his assistants will serve as both the middle school and high school coaching staff until the program grows to its permanent state a few years down the road.
Loveday will hire three coaches soon, and they will build the program from the ground up.
“We want good (coaches) first, moral people first, and obviously, guys that can coach,” Loveday said. “I think there will be a lot of interest in (coaching at Northview).”
As the seasons progress, Loveday and some of the coaches will move up with the players to varsity, while other coaches will stay behind to work with the middle school program.
“It’s going to be all-hand-on-deck the first couple years, coaching everything,” he said. “Then titles will start being thrown out as we go.”
For the first year, the middle school and freshmen players will practice together.
“The plan right now, at least the first year, is to work seventh-, eighth- and 9th graders together. Have a full practice and have two (separate game) schedules — one for middle school and one for freshmen. We’ll play who we can play, get on the field and get some time in (building for the future).”
Eventually, Loveday believes, Northview Academy should be roughly the size of Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg-Pittman and compete at a similar classification.
Loveday, a 1993 graduate of SCHS, went on to play football under Ken Sparks at Carson-Newman. There, he earned a Bachelor’s degree before pursuing and attaining both a Master of Science degree and Educational Specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University. He has also been a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist since 2004.
During his time at SCHS, Loveday has served as head track and field coach, freshman boys’ basketball coach, and as a wellness and earth science instructor. Prior to Loveday’s work at SCHS, he served as a physical education instructor and coach at New Center Elementary School.
Loveday and his wife, Katie, have two children, Taegan, 8, and Claire, 5. He is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association, Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains, Leadership Tomorrow of Sevier County and the First United Methodist Church of Sevierville.