Education

Published on November 19th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Carolina Panthers names Dutch Fork High School’s Tom Knotts High School Coach of the Week

Pictured: Head football coach Tom Knotts thanks Richland County Council for recognizing the Dutch Fork High School football team during an event.

IRMO – Dutch Fork High School head football coach Tom Knotts has been named High School Coach of the Week by the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers will honor Knotts and nine other High School Coach of the Week recipients at an on-field presentation during the Dec. 13 Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers game. At that time, the 2015 Coach of the Year will be announced and the winning coach will receive a $2,000 grant for his school’s athletic department.

“It’s nice for a professional football organization like the Panthers to take an interest in high school football,” Knotts said. “Any coach awards that I might receive are really a tribute to the continued efforts of the student-athletes and the coaching staff. Like many other high school coaches and teams, we spend tireless hours attempting to be the best we can be. It’s rewarding for Dutch Fork High School to be recognized for our efforts.”

Since Knotts assumed command of the Dutch Fork program in 2010, the Silver Foxes have won four regional championships and have played in three Class 4A state championships, culminating in a state championship in 2013. Off the field, Knotts is dedicated to ensuring he serves as a mentor to his players.

“Coach Knotts’ passion for the game goes far past motivating his players to win and perform on the field. His passion extends to their success off the field, ensuring they have all the tools and resources necessary to reach excellence after they leave high school,” said Leah Hardy, a member of the Dutch Fork Touchdown Club. “Coach Knotts builds discipline and character, teaches the importance of a good work ethic, and provides a sense of responsibility and pride through encouraging the participation in service projects.”

Some of the team’s outreach efforts have included the Palmetto Richland’s Children Hospital Toy Drive, the B-4- Kids Charity school supply drive, Adopt-A-Highway, assisting at the Agape Senior Center, and contributing to the NFL’s Crucial Catch Campaign for the American Cancer Society. The Silver Foxes recently teamed up with community efforts to assist the South Carolina flood victims with supplies and post-flood clean up.

Knotts also made contributions to high school football programs prior to coming to Dutch Fork High School. During his 35-year coaching career, he has assembled an impressive record at the prep level having won state championships at West Charlotte (1995) and Independence (2001,’02,’03,‘05,’06). His Independence tenure helped result in a winning streak of 109 straight games, which still stands as a national record for public schools.

“I have coached for 35 years and enjoy the daily grind a season brings,” Knotts said. “Every year is different and always presents a different set of challenges – and I enjoy that. The pursuit of excellence relative to the concept of team is a challenge that you can’t find anywhere else in our society. As long as I am enjoying the process and the coaches and players are buying into the standards that have been established, I will continue to coach.”

In recognition of Knotts, Carolina Panthers Charities has donated $1,000 to the Dutch Fork High School athletic program.

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