Taking the lead of the pack… Humphrey takes over as Athletic Director at Hampton
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
Dewayne Humphrey is accustomed to being in pressure-packed situations.
After all, he has led the Hampton Middle School Jr. Bulldog boys basketball team to two straight TMSAA State Championship appearances in back-to-back seasons.
But none of the pressures that he experienced at the coaching level will compare to what he recently stepped into as the Athletic Director’s role at Hampton High School, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting high school sports and tough, hard decisions having to be made that will impact Bulldog sports overall in the long run.
The immediate challenges are pretty recognizable at this stage of the year heading into the 2020-2021 school year.
“First and foremost, we are just trying to make sure we are following the guidelines set by the governor of the state of Tennessee and the TSSAA,” stated Humphrey. “We want our student-athletes to stay healthy and safe while getting to participate in their chosen sport.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes is by far the top priority. Then ensuring that if we get to play sports this fall that we follow the guidelines and provide a safe environment for the athletes, coaches, and fans.”
Just like many small schools across the state, football is the reason that other sports can be played at those schools as it is one of the biggest money-makers for the schools.
Humphrey knows that football season is important for Bulldog athletics and is being cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season.
“Football is a very popular sport not only in Hampton but in East Tennessee,” said Humphrey. “Many schools rely on the larger football games for fundraising, etc. so no football could have an impact in that aspect.”
Even though Humphrey has taken over the new role, he will continue to be present on the Bulldog boys basketball bench as an assistant to Ned Smith and will be teaching full time at Hampton High School.
Humphrey can honestly say that he has been a BFL – Bulldog for Life as he has been in the Hampton community all his life.
“That’s an easy answer – all my life,” when asked about how long he had been in the Hampton School system. “I graduated from Hampton high school in 1999 and began my teaching career at Hampton Elementary school in 2006.”
Many think that being an athletic director is a piece of cake and they don’t do anything but carry a title. However, Humphrey reassured everyone that there is more work than meets the eye serving in the capacity of an AD.
“The beginning of the year there is a lot of paperwork that has to be completed for the TSSAA -filling out rosters, schedules, speaking with coaches and coaches training that really has to be done prior to the seasons starting,” Humphrey said of just a few of his priorities. “Then you have the normal game-day duties and helping with anything that goes on during the game or dealing with any issues that may come up.
“I would tell those people that they only get to see the finished product, no one see the work behind the scenes. Because you have to manage all of the different sports, athletes, and coaches.”
In being the athletic director for the Hampton program, Humphrey feels that he has a lot to offer the program.
“I have a good understanding of the Hampton community, culture, and the tradition that Hampton High School holds,” Humphrey added. “Bulldog Pride doesn’t leave many who attend HHS.
“I want to see our students and athletes excel in all they do while making our community proud.”