Thacker faces West with all good memories in mind

Chris Thacker was an assistant coach at Morristown West from 2008-2017.

There is nothing like coaches facing a former team. Whether it be bad blood or a healthy relationship still intact between the two, it’s fun to watch.

For assistant coach/offensive coordinator Chris Thacker of Dobyns-Bennet, it was full of sharing great memories with his former team, Morristown West.

“Of course, it’s a little different now since this is my third time playing against West,” Thacker said. “The first time around it really hits you. I don’t think the situation ever changes, though. It is always a bittersweet game. Looking back on West, it’s full of good memories and friends while I coached there. I still see some of those guys that are still on the staff and it’s always good to see them.”

Thacker was an assistant to Lamar Brown at West for nine years and also coached alongside Alvin Sanders—current head coach of West—for many of those years. Thacker departed with Trojan Football back in 2017 where he followed Brown to Knox West.

He only spent one season at Knox West and eventually found his way to Dobyns-Bennet – a football program that sees the Trojans every season since they moved up to Class 6A.

“I saw the opportunity at Dobyns-Bennett and it was somewhere I wanted to be,” Thacker said. “It’s a school that reminds me a lot of West with their tradition. I think coaching and teaching here in Kingsport is an excellent place to be for me.”

Fortunately for Thacker and West, there is no bad blood. None whatsoever. He enjoys the competition against a former team who he had so much success with.

Thacker was an assistant coach at West from 2008-2017 and the Trojans made the playoffs eight times out of those nine years.

“We shared a lot of memories when we were at West together,” Sanders said. “He is someone I respect as a coach and what he does with offenses is fun to watch. Thacker and I had a great friendship since day one and that friendship still exists to this day. I love catching up with him whenever we play. He has done a great job with that football program at Dobyns-Bennett.”

Sanders was a part of all of the playoff runs with Thacker and Brown.

There were a lot of great memories shared between the coaching staff which built a long-lasting friendship between Sanders and Thacker.

And despite coaching in the same region as Sanders now, Thacker says he pulls for the Trojans every game that they do not play Dobyns-Bennet.

“Every single game except for when they play us I pull for West,” Thacker said. “I am rooting for those guys. There is a lot of love shared between us. However, there is one game out of the year where you are trying to win a football game and that kind of takes precedence over all of that. Every coach knows that.”

In the last three meetings West has had against Thacker and Dobyns-Bennett, the Trojans have yet to pull out a win – giving Thacker a 3-0 record against his former squad.

The most recent matchup between Sanders and Thacker happened this past Friday with Dobyns-Bennett coming away with a 59-14 victory. However, West is only the second team this year to score more than 10 points on the Indians.

“West never gave up,” Thacker said. “That’s one thing about West. Whenever you play them, they are going to fight until the end, and they did that. I think Sanders had done a great job of keeping the tradition alive.”

The success for Thacker has not only been against West. He and the Indians are 22-9 since he was hired on as the offensive coordinator in 2018.

This season Thacker’s offense has put up some stats that may have other defenses a little timid.

Dobyns-Bennett is putting up 42 points a game created by 393.7 offensive yards a game. A lot of those yards are gained from the ground as the Indians are averaging 226 rushing yards each outing.

The offense under Thacker becomes even scarier, too, after the defense has held five of the seven teams they have faced to seven or fewer points.

Dobyns-Bennett’s offense seems to be in good hands under Thacker, and he believes the Trojans will be just fine under Sanders for years to come.

“I think Sanders was put in a tough position whenever West was moved up to 6A,” Thacker said. “I think he has done a great job adjusting to a better region. It’s one of those things that some of the schools just have more talent to choose from. I think he had done a great job carrying the pride of Trojan Football on. He knows so much about football, offensively and defensively. They play hard under a great coach.”By Dylan Young

Assistant Sports Editor

There is nothing like coaches facing a former team. Whether it be bad blood or a healthy relationship still intact between the two, it’s fun to watch.

For assistant coach/offensive coordinator Chris Thacker of Dobyns-Bennet, it was full of sharing great memories with his former team, Morristown West.

“Of course, it’s a little different now since this is my third time playing against West,” Thacker said. “The first time around it really hits you. I don’t think the situation ever changes, though. It is always a bittersweet game. Looking back on West, it’s full of good memories and friends while I coached there. I still see some of those guys that are still on the staff and it’s always good to see them.”

Thacker was an assistant to Lamar Brown at West for nine years and also coached alongside Alvin Sanders—current head coach of West—for many of those years. Thacker departed with Trojan Football back in 2017 where he followed Brown to Knox West.

He only spent one season at Knox West and eventually found his way to Dobyns-Bennet – a football program that sees the Trojans every season since they moved up to Class 6A.

“I saw the opportunity at Dobyns-Bennett and it was somewhere I wanted to be,” Thacker said. “It’s a school that reminds me a lot of West with their tradition. I think coaching and teaching here in Kingsport is an excellent place to be for me.”

Fortunately for Thacker and West, there is no bad blood. None whatsoever. He enjoys the competition against a former team who he had so much success with.

Thacker was an assistant coach at West from 2008-2017 and the Trojans made the playoffs eight times out of those nine years.

“We shared a lot of memories when we were at West together,” Sanders said. “He is someone I respect as a coach and what he does with offenses is fun to watch. Thacker and I had a great friendship since day one and that friendship still exists to this day. I love catching up with him whenever we play. He has done a great job with that football program at Dobyns-Bennett.”

Sanders was a part of all of the playoff runs with Thacker and Brown.

There were a lot of great memories shared between the coaching staff which built a long-lasting friendship between Sanders and Thacker.

And despite coaching in the same region as Sanders now, Thacker says he pulls for the Trojans every game that they do not play Dobyns-Bennet.

“Every single game except for when they play us I pull for West,” Thacker said. “I am rooting for those guys. There is a lot of love shared between us. However, there is one game out of the year where you are trying to win a football game and that kind of takes precedence over all of that. Every coach knows that.”

In the last three meetings West has had against Thacker and Dobyns-Bennett, the Trojans have yet to pull out a win – giving Thacker a 3-0 record against his former squad.

The most recent matchup between Sanders and Thacker happened this past Friday with Dobyns-Bennett coming away with a 59-14 victory. However, West is only the second team this year to score more than 10 points on the Indians.

“West never gave up,” Thacker said. “That’s one thing about West. Whenever you play them, they are going to fight until the end, and they did that. I think Sanders had done a great job of keeping the tradition alive.”

The success for Thacker has not only been against West. He and the Indians are 22-9 since he was hired on as the offensive coordinator in 2018.

This season Thacker’s offense has put up some stats that may have other defenses a little timid.

Dobyns-Bennett is putting up 42 points a game created by 393.7 offensive yards a game. A lot of those yards are gained from the ground as the Indians are averaging 226 rushing yards each outing.

The offense under Thacker becomes even scarier, too, after the defense has held five of the seven teams they have faced to seven or fewer points.

Dobyns-Bennett’s offense seems to be in good hands under Thacker, and he believes the Trojans will be just fine under Sanders for years to come.

“I think Sanders was put in a tough position whenever West was moved up to 6A,” Thacker said. “I think he has done a great job adjusting to a better region. It’s one of those things that some of the schools just have more talent to choose from. I think he had done a great job carrying the pride of Trojan Football on. He knows so much about football, offensively and defensively. They play hard under a great coach.”