Football - 9th
McCallie has been playing football since the school opened in 1905. One of the storied programs of the South, McCallie has compiled an impressive overall record of 683-377-44 in 114 years of football. It has won four state championships including three consecutively in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
The 2019 season culminated in the TSSAA Division II-AAA State Championship as the Blue Tornado defeated Montgomery Bell Academy 28-7 in the title game. It was the program's first 11-win season (11-2).
The Blue Tornado followed up that championship with a consecutive state title in 2020. McCallie impressively won its two playoff games on the road and steamrolled Memphis University School 44-0 in the finals for back-to-back Division II-AAA State Championships.
In 2021, the program posted its first 13-win season and first undefeated schedule since 2001. The Blue Tornado faced Montgomery Bell Academy in the state finals, played for the first time in Chattanooga, and kept the trophy in town with a 28-7 victory.
Currently, McCallie has a coaching staff of 15 full-time staff members and six part-time coaches to oversee a program consisting of two middle school teams, and a junior varsity and varsity team in the high school serving approximately 175 boys.
McCallie Football competes successfully in one of the toughest regions in the country. Tennessee Division II-AAA is ranked in the top 10 in the nation in terms of competitiveness with other conferences. Beginning in 1997, the league was born in the same year Coach Ralph Potter ’81 arrived on the Ridge to rebuild the program. After starting slowly in 1997, the Blue Tornado began to make steady improvements. Potter’s 2001 squad won a State Championship while completing an undefeated season. In 2006, McCallie narrowly missed another championship, losing 37-34 in the state finals.
From 1998 until 2006, McCallie missed reaching the semifinals only one year, compiling a 75-28 record. During that nine-year stretch, McCallie never lost to archrival Baylor. Keppy Baucom, B.J. Coleman, Lee Hilt, Ryan Moore, and Ayanga Okpokowuruk won Tennessee Mr. Football Awards as the league’s top players. Over 20 players continued their careers in college, including Jason Hall (Tennessee), Okpokowuruk (Duke) and Coleman (Tennessee and UT-Chattanooga). All three of these players continued their careers professionally.
After serving a five-year stretch at Brentwood Academy, Potter returned to the Ridge in 2012 to rebuild the program once again. In 2014, McCallie returned to prominence, defeating four-time state champion Ensworth 62-34, snapping Baylor’s winning streak over the Big Blue with a 35-9 victory, and finishing with a 9-3 record. McCallie ranked 18th in the country after the win over Baylor, according to MaxPreps.
The 2018 season saw the Big Blue come three points shy of reaching the state championship game and finish with a 10-2 record.
The past five years have featured a number of players who have gone on to play in college, including quarterback Robert Riddle, a Mr. Football Finalist, and Giovanni Reviere, a Mr. Football Semifinalist. Members of the 2021 squad are on football rosters at such places as Memphis and Missouri. The most recent senior class produced seven players who will continue in the college ranks including Division I programs Duke, East Tennessee State, and Furman.
While these accomplishments are important, the heart of McCallie football lies in the brotherhood of the young men who have worn the uniform. We want to be better as a team than the sum total of our talent. We rely on the grit of our players and their love for one another to make our teams truly special. In this way, we hope to develop men of character.
Follow the football team on Twitter at @McCallieFB.