Dobyns-Bennett High School's Clark Named Finalist for National AFCA 2017 Power of Influence Award

Published Jan. 201, 2018
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Dobyns-Bennett High School's head football coach Graham Clark has been named a finalist for the 2017 Power of Influence Award, presented jointly by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the American Football Coaches Foundation (AFCF). As one of twelve national finalists, Clark was among coaches named from Arkansas, South Dakota, Texas, South Carolina, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Missouri, Minnesota and Oklahoma. 

"I am very honored to have been selected for the American Football Coaches Association final 12 in the United States, for their Power of Influence award," said Dobyns-Bennett Head Football Coach Graham Clark. "To me, the award is not just about wins and losses, but relationships and helping young people to be great citizens. On the other side, if you don't get enough wins, you probably don't get to stick around to influence many people. This is a great honor." 

The Power of Influence award was created as way for the AFCA and AFCF to honor a deserving high school football coach. Coaches who receive this award are recognized for their impact on their team and players, as well as the legacy they leave with the school and surrounding community. This award is not based on wins and losses; however, it should be noted that coaches of powerful influence have longevity and success. This is the first AFCA award specially designed to honor a high school coach. 

"Coach Graham Clark is a Hall of Fame Coach and an exceptional leader of young men," said Dobyns-Bennett Athletic Director Larry Shively. "As successful as Coach Clark has been as a head coach on the football field, his positive influence in our community and state is immeasurable. Coach Clark has impacted thousands of lives over his 40 years as an educator and coach. He is a tireless worker that relentlessly promotes our storied high school while advocating for our student-athletes and our community. Coach Clark is widely regarded as a "coach's coach." He is one of the first resources that fellow coaches, often fierce competitors, look to for advice and guidance. This AFCA "Power of Influence Award" is a testament to Coach Clark's servant leadership."

Coach Clark's prior coaching honors include: Big East Coach of the Year (1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2017); Hogoheege District Coach of the Year (1981); two-time Northeast Tennessee Coach of the Year; two-time News-Sentinel 5A Coach of the Year; East-West Shrine Game Assistant Coach (1997); TACA TN-KY All-Star Assistant Coach (2003); TACA TN-KY All-Star Head Coach (2004); TACA Football Board (Served three years); and TN Football Coaches Association President (2003, 2004). In addition, Coach Clark is Dobyns-Bennett's all-time winningest football coach and in the past 25 years, has guided the Indian's football program to an astounding 17 conference championships with a record of 252 wins and 71 losses since 1993.

The 2017 award winner is Allan Trimble from Jenks High School in Oklahoma. 

For more information on the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)visit

Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice and an alternative learning program; with total enrollment over 7,700 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to be, Student Focused … World Class.

KCS has been named the top school district in Tennessee as winner of the 2014 SCORE Prize District Award by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and has earned the 2014 Achievement Award in the annual Excellence in Tennessee Recognition Program by theTennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE).

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, download our mobile app for Apple / Android devices or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Twitter (@KCS_District), LinkedIn (Kingsport City Schools) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).