TSSAA Director Bernard Childress Discusses Moving Football Title Games to Chattanooga
Chattanooga is the new home of the Tennessee high school football state championship games for the next two seasons. Back in March, the TSSAA awarded Chattanooga the bid over Cookeville, who has hosted the title games the last 12 years. At spring fling, News 12 caught up with TSSAA director Bernard Childress to discuss the football decision.
Said Childress:”Coming to Chattanooga for TSSAA, it doesn’t seem like this is a foreign experience for us. I mean it’s just like we are okay. We’re moving something else to Chattanooga. This is pretty much one of our homes. (chuckles) That’s just how we feel.”
Bernard Childress knows that Chattanooga’s Finley Stadium will be an upgrade over the outdated Tucker stadium at Tennessee Tech.
Said Childress:”When you look at Finley Stadium, it’s immaculate. People in Chattanooga have done a fantastic job of maintaining it. You all have had championship events there before.”
Now there’s not a lot of locker room space at Finley Stadium, but Childress says that issue was resolved.
Said Childress:”The situation was the middle game every day. So what we worked out is, right at the convention center. They are going to dress those kids there. You know really you can walk to the stadium from the convention center if you wanted to, but we’re going to bus them down to the stadium, and they’ll be able to get into the dressing room after the other team leaves.”
In Georgia, the luxurious Mercedes Benz Stadium has hosted the state title games before
And in Alabama, The Tide’s Bryant Denny Stadium and Auburn’s Jordan Hare Stadium serve as hosts.
So why doesn’t Tennessee use the Titans Nissan Stadium, and the Vols Neyland Stadium?
Said Childress:”First of all, they’ve never bid for a championship. But secondly, when you look at just attendance wise, we tend to frown down on a stadium that’s just going to be overwhelming in size. We want it to look like a championship event and not people spread out.”
Childress believes Finley Stadium will offer sort of an extended tailgating experience.
Said Childress:”When you look at the fan experience, once they park their car, if they stay in that area, they’ll probably never have to move again. They can go eat and do what they need to do. But for us, that’s not the key to us moving any of our state championships. With us it’s all about the young people that participate, and with Finley Stadium being the type of stadium that it is, it is definitely a championship venue. We just feel like every kid that comes there is going to have something that they can remember for the rest of their life.”