Although the stakes are not at the same height, the opportunity for freedom and growth are similar. Our country's Declaration of Independence changed the makeup of the world. Clayton-Bradley High School Athletics' decision is to move to be independent and have no conference affiliation...for now. At the decision of the collective group of Athletic Directors, The Tennessee Association of Private School Athletics, or TAPSA, has dissolved and is no longer a conference. The conference started in 2018 with Knoxville Christian, Paideia Academy, Maryville Christian, Apostolic Christian Academy of Maryville, Tennessee Christian Preparatory School of Cleveland, Apostolic Christian School of Knoxville and Clayton-Bradley Academy. The sports incuded were Boys and Girls Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball and Baseball.
"From how and who it originally started with, to where we were headed as a conference after this past basketball season, was not the same direction. Leadership, schools and vision just change over time." Athletic Director Grant Redmond stated. He went on to explain, "There are no hard feelings between anyone. We just decided that it would be in each school's best interest and growth to pursue other opportunities. We appreciate all that the conference did and how they represented private schools in the area. They gave our school, especially since we were starting our high school athletics, a chance to be a part of something bigger. We will definitely miss the competition, conference awards and tournaments that we had with these schools. There are some really great leaders, coaches and student athletes within these private schools, more than people know. What we gained are the great relationships that we built. We will continue to play each other for years to come and we hope the best for all schools involved."
Clayton-Bradley is still in the growing process as a school, going into the schools' 7th year, in attendance and athletically. The numbers right now K-12 are around 300, and with the new high school building being finished at the end of this calendar year, growth is expected. Also, with this year's added High School Girls Basketball program, Redmond wants to give The Blazers time to get ready for the next step. "Our hope is to join the private division of TSSAA in a couple of years," he said. "We want to set ourselves up to compete at that level. What's good for us is that we already compete with all of those schools in our middle school conference, The Knoxville Independent Schools League. We believe that we are getting the right coaches in place to lead our students as we grow into what we believe can be a competitive private school in this area. We will take the next step when we are ready."
In the meantime, join in and watch as The Blazers compete with a lot of great local private and small public schools. Go Blazers!