By Tim Chambers
Chris Dunn was known as a bulldozer on the football field and pretty much a brute on the basketball court during his playing days at Johnson County. He was All-Conference two years in both sports and was named to the Elite 11 football team as a senior in 2000 in addition to gathering honorable mention All-State honors.
Seventeen years later he’s back on the gridiron as an assistant football coach at the high school. It’s something that the former standout player has always wanted to do.
Dunn‘s toughness as a player was second to none. He made it a trademark to run over people on the football field, but was quick enough on the basketball court to score 20 plus points in several games. His players should improve immensely if they can duplicate his toughness on the field.
“I see a different side of the game now that I’m a coach as to being a player,” said Dunn. “I’m still competitive and I still have a feel for the game, but now I’m trying to instill that in our players. I want to get that and my knowledge about the game over to the kids and show them the things that helped me as a player. Hopefully we can have success and bring back excitement to Johnson County football. I am excited to be working with these kids.”
Dunn works as a Tennessee State Trooper when not on the football field. He won’t mind seeing some “speeders” in his backfield.
“I would love to see us bring back the smash-mouth style of football but we’ve got several options,” added Dunn. “We’ve got good speed in our backfield and our receivers are fast with good hands. It helps to have a senior quarterback who should be one of the best players in the area.”
Dunn also knows the value of good line play. He thinks the weight room has improved that area.
“Everything goes hand-in-hand and compliments one another,” added Dunn. “We need the speed, good quarterbacking and a running game, but it all starts with the line. Those guys are working hard and getting better each time out. Our players have lived in the weight room during the offseason. Our kids are much stronger this year. I believe we can win a lot of battles up front.”
Dunn feels like the addition of the new weight room has been the biggest asset for this year’s squad.
“It’s helped a great deal because we’ve got 35-45 kids working out all the time,” added Dunn. “All that hard work will show out on the field.”
Dunn likes the backfield that he’s inherited. It’s one with some speed in addition to valuable game experience.
“Troy Arnold has moved to fullback and he’s big, strong and hard to tackle. Gage Hampton is a good back that runs strong and can catch the football. Caden Arnold has the speed to score when he gets on the outside. Bud Icenhour and Nathan are two really good athletes. They, Shane Greer and Zack Eller should take a lot of pressure off our backs because they are so good at throwing and catching the football.”
Dunn feels like the team has a lot of good senior players. He is hoping they step up and take on the leadership roles.
“We need them to do that to help out all our younger players,” said Dunn. “We’ve got a good mix of players this year. We want to outwork people and have a good chemistry on this team. It all starts with leadership.”
Dunn said he’s excited and grateful about the opportunity at hand.
“I want to give the players and coaches all the time that I can between me and my work schedule. I appreciate Coach Don Kerley and the staff for giving me this opportunity to help these kids and my community. I want to make the most of it.”