Report: Lunsford, Pettit among Unicoi finalists

from staff reports

   Former Cloudland head coach Mike Lunsford and Happy Valley offensive coordinator were among five finalists listed to fill the Unicoi County High School head football coaching vacancy, according to a report in the Erwin Record on Wednesday.
   The other finalists named after a school board meeting on Friday, Jan. 30 were current Unicoi County athletic director Doug Cooper, along with Dan Hammonds and Mark Peters.
   The two early favorites to fill the slot appear to be Lunsford and Cooper based on a variety of factors. Lunsford is the only one of the five with head coaching experience at the varsity level and he helped build one of the most successful programs in East Tennessee.
   His Highlander teams went 10-0 in the regular season on five different occasions. Overall, his teams recorded a record of 136-39 in 15 years at Roan Mountain with Lunsford taking Cloudland to the 2002 Class A state championship game. His team was ranked No. 1 in the state for much of the 2003 season and averaged over 50 points per game in the regular season.
   Cooper is the insider with the Blue Devil program. He served as an assistant under Larry Howell this past season. Cooper, who played for Erwin in the early 70,s, previously served a head coach for Unicoi County,s freshmen and junior high programs.
   Pettit, a graduate of West Greene High School, has been an assistant at Happy Valley the last seven years under Stan Ogg. This past season, Pettit was given the title of offensive coordinator as the Warriors installed a more pass-oriented offense.
   Hammonds is scheduled to graduate from Emory & Henry College in May. He was a captain on the 2003 Wasp football team. Peters, a substitute teacher for Unicoi County, has no previous coaching experience. He does however have a strong military background, formerly serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces.
   The finalists will interview for the job next Monday with the top choices expected to be voted on by the school board in a meeting next Wednesday.