Bradley County Schools
800 South Lee Highway
Cleveland, TN 37311
Phone 423 476-0620
Fax 423 476-0485
Director McDaniel Receives A.F. Bridges Award from TSSAA
An editorial from the pages of the Cleveland Daily Banner
A professional educator whose high ideals are taking the Bradley County Schools system academia to new heights has been honored by an organization whose expertise comes from within another invaluable discipline — sports.
We refer to Johnny McDaniel, director of county schools who has been named one of the recipients of the A.F. Bridges Sportsmanship System Administrators of the Year award. The prestigious honor was announced recently by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.
Some mistakenly view academics and athletics as polar extremes.
McDaniel does not. He believes the two walk school corridors as partners — one supporting the other, each complementing a spirit of cohesion that promotes a shared responsibility in the development of impressionable minds and the enhancement of young lives.
Students win in the classroom and in the arenas of athletic competition. While winning is important, it falls second to sportsmanship and personal conduct while in the sprint for victory.
McDaniel explained his reasoning in an interview with our staff writer Joyanna Weber.
“I do believe that it’s not just about winning,” the likable schools director explained. “Winning is important. We want to win, but how you go about winning is really important.”
His sentiments are as inarguable as they are impressive.
Any great athlete, or team of fit sports stars, can emerge as victor en route to claiming towering hardware that shines and plaques that glitter in polished trophy cases. But how the contest is won, and how the young gladiators — boys and girls — conduct themselves in the doing is of gravest importance. Such performance tells of parental upbringing, speaks to personal attitude and serves as a lasting image of a school’s deepest values.
Turner Jackson, TSSAA district coordinator and Bradley Central High School athletic director, offered an endearing perspective to the state recognition. The award is given to a system administrator who displays “... the high ideals of integrity and ethics, citizenship and sportsmanship,” the veteran AD and educator told our newspaper.
Jackson believes the award could come to no finer recipient.
“As long as I’ve known him, he has been a great supporter of athletics,” Jackson said.
Perhaps indicative of why such a high state recognition has come his way, McDaniel is a firm believer that coaches don’t just coach. They also teach, and they do it while serving as an inspirer and mentor. Quality teaching contributes to making students the best they can be while preparing them for a new world of adulthood, the schools director believes.
Likewise, we feel it is indeed refreshing to hear a school system administrator who is willing to push far beyond the traditional spheres of education. One who teaches students about life, and not just about passing grades and sports victories, is the caliber of educator so vital in today’s realm of public education.
Great educators share common vision.
It is why the Sportsmanship System Administrator of the Year Award was named in honor of A.F. Bridges. He was the TSSAA’s first director, one whose legacy framed a thoughtful balance between victory and how it is attained.
We congratulate Johnny McDaniel on this esteemed honor.
It is a personal tribute to him just as it exemplifies all that is good in two distinct disciplines of secondary education — athletics and academics.
One can stand without the other, but neither will shine.