Oak Ridge High School Athletic Director Mike Mullins is retiring, and football coach Joe Gaddis, who announced his retirement as coach in November, will serve as interim athletic director.
“As athletic director, Mullins was responsible for leading an athletic department that is committed to excellence both in the classroom and in competition,” Adams said in a letter to families. Mullins led several capital improvement projects, Adams said, including the multi-million-dollar revitalization of Blankenship Field and the design of Wildcat Arena, which was part of a $61 million renovation of ORHS.
“This state-of-the-art facility is home to the Wildcat basketball and volleyball teams and is one of the finest venues in the state,” Adams said.
Other facility upgrades completed during Mullins’ tenure include the Pro2Serve Soccer Complex, a renovated weight room, and many locker room enhancements.
However, Adams said, “Mullins’ term as athletic director has been more than bricks and mortar.”
While Mullins served as athletic director, Oak Ridge won six state championships, six state runner-ups, and many other sectional, regional, and district titles, Adams said. There were also individual awards ranging from All American to all-district.
Mullins was recognized for his accomplishments by being awarded the 2009-2010 A.F. Bridges Athletic Director of the Year award, Adams said. He was presented the Tennessee State Award of Merit by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in 2014. That national award is given each year to the top athletic director in each state, Adams said. The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association awarded a Distinguished Service Award of Excellence as an administrator in 2015, and he was named a distinguished alumni by Lincoln Memorial University.
Adams said Mullins has been active both at ORHS and outside the school, serving on many committees. He has been a TSSAA district coordinator for District 3-AAA and Region 2-AAA since 2005, TSSAA District 3-AAA awards coordinator, chair of the TSSAA A.F. Bridges Sportsmanship Committee, and a committee member for Anderson County Young Life.
Mullins graduated in 1986 from Lincoln Memorial University, Adams said. He started his teaching and coaching career at his alma mater, Powell Valley High School in 1986, and he served as a defensive coordinator and strength coach for the football team.
He became part of the Oak Ridge football staff in 1989, and the team averaged 11 wins per season for 14 years, Adams said. The Wildcats won a state championship in 1991 and were nationally ranked by USA Today.
As athletic director, Mullins has overseen an athletic program that has 17 varsity sports and more than 500 student athletes.
“We are grateful for his leadership and commitment to our coaches, students, and the Oak Ridge High School athletic program,” Adams said.
Regarding Gaddis’ interim appointment, he said the retired football coach has been an essential part of Oak Ridge athletics for the past two decades. A Hall of Fame coach, Gaddis led the Wildcats from 1988 to 1998 and again from 2013 to 2021.
Gaddis has an overall record of 334 wins and 146 losses, Adams said.
“He is only one of three active coaches in the state of Tennessee with 300 wins,” Adams said.
At ORHS, Gaddis won 196 games and loss 58, making him the Oak Ridge coach with the most wins and he has the eighth-highest number of wins among Tennessee coaches.
Gaddis was coach during the 1991 championship season, and he was inducted into the Tennessee Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
“We are grateful for his continued commitment to our community and the Oak Ridge High School athletic program,” Adams said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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