The 2017 Toyota East-West Football All-Star Classic will be held in Clarksville, Tennessee at Austin Peay State University’s Fortera Stadium on Friday, December 8, 2017. The All-Star Classic is organized by the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association (TACA) and is made up of the state’s top 88 senior football players who are selected from more than 400 nominations.
General admission tickets are $10 each for ages 3 and up. Kickoff is at 7:00p.m. central time and game will also be televised live on ESPN-3.
The East-West game is the second major football event Visit Clarksville officials have landed this year. In June, the city hosted the Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars Game, where 7th and 8th graders from Kentucky and Tennessee squared off.
“TACA officials came to us early this year after seeing our presentation for the TSSAA state championship because they were so impressed with our presentation and our facilities at Austin Peay,” said Visit Clarksville Board of Directors Chairman Jerry Allbert. “As we began talking about things the players could do during their time here in Clarksville, they became extremely impressed with the opportunity for the players to visit Fort Campbell and interact with soldiers.”
APSU Athletic Director Ryan Ivey is enthused about what that means for Austin Peay. “We are excited to welcome this group of talented individuals to APSU. Having the ability to host this event on campus allows us to continue our goal of improving our campus through high achieving student-athletes. With our recent facility enhancements to Fortera Stadium we believe that we have a first-class facility to offer a great experience,” he said.
APSU Head Football Coach Will Healy is equally excited. “This is a huge opportunity for us to have these top players see our campus and see the commitment our leadership has to our football program,” he said. “I played in this game as a senior, and it is truly a premier event. It’s all about the type of experience the guys on the field have. We are also privileged to share this great city with them -- no other OVC site can do that.”
One of those uniquely Clarksville experiences is providing the athletes the opportunity to visit Fort Campbell and interact with soldiers. “We are honored to be a part of this inaugural event and look forward to hosting these talented athletes on Fort Campbell. It's a great opportunity to show them what makes Fort Campbell the best soldier and family experience," said Col. Joseph P. Kuchan, Fort Campbell Garrison Commander.
Athletes, coaches and family members will begin arriving on Monday, December 4 for daily practices prior to the Friday game. College coaches from multiple states will attend practice sessions throughout the week.
“The Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association and its staff are tremendously excited to have APSU and the City of Clarksville as our host for the upcoming event,” said Bill Marbet, TACA executive director. “I feel the event in Clarksville will be something where every participant will have the opportunity to mold friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Once more, thank you Clarksville, our NEW home.”
“Beyond the expenses that support our local tax base, the greatest benefits are showcasing the fine campus and facilities we have in Austin Peay to these senior students and having both Austin Peay and Clarksville featured on a national broadcast,” Allbert says. “That’s priceless.”
He was also quick to give credit to Fortera Credit Union for their investment in the stadium. “Without this upgraded first-class venue, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to bring these types of events to our community. We appreciate the private investment from Fortera that supplemented Austin Peay’s public dollars to make this possible. The entire community benefits,” he said.
Earlier this week, TACA announced the coaching rosters for both the east and west teams.
Leading the East Team are:
• Head Coach, Matt Williams from Smyrna (6A)
• Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach, Greg Ryan from Greenback (1A)
• Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach, Jeremy Jenkins from Daniel Boone (5A)
• Offensive Line Coach, Wes Jones from Hardin Valley Academy(6A)
• Defensive Line Coach, Jason Dobbs from Moore County (1A)
• Running Backs Coach, Mark Williams from Gallatin (5A)
• Wide Receivers Coach, Sean Loftis from Jackson County (2A)
• Defensive Backs Coach, Charles Fant from Notre Dame (Division II)
Leading the West Team are:
• Head Coach, Brandon Gray from Adamsville (2A)
• Offensive Coordinator, Matt McConnell from Waverly (2A)
• Offensive Line Coach, Steve Hookfin from Haywood (4A)
• Wide Receivers Coach, Anthony Jones from Cordova (6A)
• Defensive Coordinator, Scott Stidham from South Gibson
• Running Backs Coach, Dustin Wilson from Springfield (4A)
• Defensive Line Coach, Brian Waite from East Nashville (3A)
• Defensive Backs Coach, Charlie Lansdell from Columbia Academy (2A)
Coaches are now in the process of selecting this year’s teams.
“The City of Clarksville is proud of this community’s ability to attract the 2017 Toyota East-West All Star football game in December, and we look forward to showing our fellow Tennesseans how much Clarksville has to offer,” Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan said. “APSU’s recently redesigned and expanded Fortera Stadium will be an outstanding venue, and Clarksville has the amenities and motivation to be an excellent host. We appreciate the hard work by Visit Clarksville and APSU to bring this event to Clarksville.”
Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett concurred, “We are excited to have been chosen as the host site for the 2017 East-West All Star game! This will not be something new to us, as we have hosted several state and national championship sporting events over the years. We look forward to this event giving people from across our state an opportunity to visit Montgomery County, and for them to see what a true treasure this community is.”
About Visit Clarksville
The Clarksville-Montgomery County Tourism Commission was established by the State of Tennessee in 1979 to positively influences tourism in the Clarksville-Montgomery County area by promoting tourist attractions, hosting conventions, group tours and engaging in large-scale marketing efforts. In 2015, the organization adopted the Visit Clarksville brand. Visit Clarksville is governed by nine board of director members and is funded by a portion of the local hotel-motel tax.