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Gary Rankin On Cusp Of Being State's Winningest Coach

Alcoa Head Football Coach Gary Rankin says he never got into coaching football for the longevity and for a ton of wins.

That's hard to believe him as you look at all the success, the legendary coach has had over his coaching career that has spun over 35 years.

Rankin isn't a coach that wants the individual attention rather he takes tremendous pride in what his teams over the years have accomplished.

In his 30 years as a head football coach at three different schools (Smith County, Riverdale and Alcoa), Rankin's teams have won 10 state titles and have made 14 title game appearances.

Now, because of all his success, he is only 13 wins away from becoming the state's all time winningest coach, which is the Trinity of coaching records.

His overall coaching record of 356-69 is just behind legendary Memphis area coach Ken Netherland, who retired last season, recently the state has mourned Netherland's passing away.

"Coach Netherland was a great coach with a very sharp football mind," Rankin said. "To be in the conversation as a top coach with a guy like him is very humbling."

"When I came back home to Carthage to take over the Smith County job in 1983, I didn't really think about what my career would look like down the road," Rankin continued.

"I had been away from home for about 10 years and my wife and I wanted to come back home and get closer to our families."

After suffering through his worst season in his career as the Owls went 0-10 in 1983, Rankin's teams turned it around.

The Owls made the playoffs six of his eight years in Carthage including back to back undefeated regular seasons in 1988 and 1989 as he finished with a 58-32 record at Smith County.

In 1990, Rankin moved to Murfreesboro and took over a down trodden Riverdale program.

It was at Riverdale, where Rankin found great success as the Warrior program became the team to beat at the Class 5A level for years to come.

In his 16 years of leading the program, Riverdale made eight 5A title game appearances winning four times (1994, 1997, 2001 and 2004).

Riverdale complied a 194-25 record during the Rankin years which also included three undefeated seasons and 15 playoff appearances as well.

"I've been very fortunate in my coaching career to have some great administrators that allowed me the freedom to go out and being in some great assistant coaches to coach some good kids."

He then moved to Alcoa in 2006 and continued his success as the Tornadoes under Rankin's direction have won (six state titles in eight years) three in 2A in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and three in 3A in 2009, 2010 and 2013.

Rankin's Tornadoes are the defending Class 3A state champions and carry a 13 game winning streak into the 2014 season which kicks off on Thursday night as Alcoa hosts Smith County.

Two days later, the Tornadoes will be in action again as they travel to Morristown East as they will play two games in three days.

Tennessee is home to a lot of successful coaches who have been coaching for long periods of time.

Below is a Top 50 list of active coaches with the most wins in the state followed by a top 50 list of coaching records by winning percentage.

Top 50 Active Coaching Records (Most Wins)
1. Gary Rankin, Alcoa, 356-69, .838
2. Sam Harp, Lebanon, 328-114, .742
3. Benny Hammonds, Gat. Pittman, 326-146, .691
4. Joe Gaddis, Oak Ridge, 265-116, .696
5. Ricky Woods, Peabody, 257-60, .811
6. Ken Colquette, Sequatchie Co., 254-87, 745
7. Craig Clayton, Hillsboro, 243-119, .669
8. Jeff Porter, White House, 240-99, .708
9. Jerry Cooper, Seymour, 235-77, .753
10. Mickey Marley, USJ, 228-82, .735
.11. David Meske, Knox. Webb, 228-110, .675
12. Graham Clark, Dobyns Bennett, 225-51, .815
13. James Counce, Henry County, 225-92, .710
14. Bobby Sharp, Lewis County, .216-90, .706
15. David Martin, Stewarts Creek, 213-105, .670
16. George Quarles, Maryville, 208-14, .937
17. John Mullinax, Tellico Plains, 207-154, .573
18. Wayne Turner, Tyner, 203-73, .736
19. John McNeal, Friendship, 196-98, .667
20. Jeff Morris, Milan, .188-51, .787
21. Dennis Goodwin, DCA, 185-72, .720
22. Jimmy Maynord, Cookeville, 185-86, .683
23. Don Coady, Westview, 185-89, .675
24. Mike Lunsford, Hampton, 180-49, .786
25. Ron Aydelott, Riverdale, .175-72, .709
26. John Olive, Tullahoma, 175-102, .632
27. Mark Pemberton, Rhea Co., 173-70, .712
28. Phillip Shadowens, Blackman, 168-75, .691
29. Bill Price, Signal Mtn., 165-100, .623
30. Ricky Bowers, Ensworth, 162-30, .844
31. Darren Bowling, Union City, 160-84, .656
32. Rick Rice, Wayne County, 155-109, .587
33. Ralph Potter, McCallie, 152-79, .658
34. Tom Adkins, Jo Byrns, 148-86, .632
35. Mike David, St.Benedict, 143-90, .614
36. Clark Duncan, South Doyle, 142-108, .568
37. Scott Smith, Warren County, 138-68, .670
38. Bobby Alston, MUS, 128-58, .688
39. Bruce Hatfield, Hendersonville, 126-70, .643
40. Pat Brown, White House Heritage, 126-90, .583
41. Wade Comer, McKenzie, 124-50, .713
42. Eddie Courtney, Farragut, 124-81, .605
43. Phil Massey, Baylor, 121-70, .634
44. Bruce Lussier, Father Ryan, 121-75, .617
45. Ron Crawford, Cleveland, 116-54, .682
46. Scott Meadows, Pigeon Forge, 115-64, .642
47. John Webb, Rockwood, 113-88, .562
48. Nathan Cole, Mitchell, 112-59, .655
49. Derrick Davis, Polk County, 110-49, .692
50. Kevin Locastro, Lausanne, 110-59, .651

Top 50 Active Coaching (By Winning Percentage)
1. George Quarles, Maryville, 208-14, .937
2. Ingle Martin, CPA, 39-4, .907
3. Kevin Creasy, Trousdale County, 70-8, .897
4. Caine Ballard, Greeneville, 60-10, .857
4. Derek Rang, Dresden, 12-2, .857
6. Ricky Bowers, Ensworth, 162-30, .844
7. Gary Rankin, Alcoa, 356-69, .838
8. Rob Black, Fulton, 36-7, .837
9. Graham Clark, Dobyns Bennett, 225-51, .815
9. Randy McKamey, Grace Christian, 66-15, .815
11. Ricky Woods, Peabody, .257-60, .811
12. Jeff Morris, Milan, 188-51, .787
13. Mike Lunsford, Hampton, 180-49, .786
14. Rodney Saulsberry, Whitehaven, 96-27, .780
15. Scott Blade, Independence, 81-24, .771
16. Stacy Carter, Science Hill, 95-29, .766
17. Rusty Bradley, CAK, 70-22, .761
18. Bryant Hollingsworth, Lexington, 56-18, .757
19. Chris Hughes, Fairview, 46-15, .754
20. Jerry Cooper, Seymour, 235-77, .753
21. Mac Bryan, Ooltewah, 9-3, .750
22. Stephen Harris, Westmoreland, 18-6, .750
23. Ken Colquette, Sequatchie Co., 254-87, .745
24. Thomas McDaniel, Oakland, 64-22, .744
25. Sam Harp, Lebanon, 328-114, .742
26. Brock Pittman, Cloudland, 17-6, .739
27. Wayne Turner, Tyner, 203-73, .736
28. Mickey Marley, USJ, 228-82, .735
29. Anthony Crabtree, Beech, 80-30, .727
29. Scott Tillman, Lipscomb Academy, 8-3, .727
31. Dennis Goodwin, DCA, 185-72, .720
31. Charles Fant, Notre Dame, 18-7, .720
33. Tony Lambert, Oneida, 43-17, .717
33. Tab Vowell, Jackson Northside, 43-17, .717
35. Al Rogers, Silverdale, 25-10, .714
36. Wade Comer, McKenzie, 124-50, .713
37. Mark Pemberton, Rhea County, 173-70, .712
38. James Counce, Henry County, 225-92, .710
39. Ron Aydelott, Riverdale, 175-72, .709
40. Jeff Porter, White House, 240-99, .708
40. Kevin Ward, Crockett County, 92-38, .708
40. Greg Wyant, Siegel, 34-14, .708
43. Bobby Sharp, Lewis County, 216-90, .706
43. William Blow, Camden, 24-10, .706
45. Walt Smith, Giles County, 95-41, .699
46. Joe Gaddis, Oak Ridge, 265-116, .696
47. Derrick Davis, Polk County, 110-49, .692
47. Junior Reid, Humboldt, 9-4, .692
49. Benny Hammonds, Gatlinburg Pittman, 326-146, .691
49. Phillip Shadowens, Blackman, 168-75, .691

Contact Donovan at donovans1222@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew