Knoxville Catholic High School

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Knoxville Catholic High School
9245 Fox Lonas Road
Knoxville, Tennessee, (Knox County) 37923
United States
Coordinates 35°55′48″N 84°5′30″W / 35.93000°N 84.09167°W / 35.93000; -84.09167Coordinates: 35°55′48″N 84°5′30″W / 35.93000°N 84.09167°W / 35.93000; -84.09167
Type Private, Coeducational
Motto "Ut Christum Feram"
(That I Might Bear Christ)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic,
Dominican Sisters
Established 1932
Principal Dickie Sompayrac
Chaplain Fr. Christopher Manning
Grades 912
Enrollment approx. 700
Color(s) Green and Gold         
Song "Spirit of the Green and Gold"
Mascot Fighting Irish
Accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Newspaper The Blarney Stone Press
Yearbook The Shamrock
Academic Dean Jane Walker
Dean of Students Stan Branson
Athletic Director Jason Surlas
Director of Development/Alumni Diannah Eagle Miller
Dean of Admissions Nichole Pfohl

Knoxville Catholic High School is a private, Roman Catholic high school in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville.


Knoxville Catholic High School, originally located on East Magnolia Avenue, registered 98 young men and women in 1932. The faculty was composed of four Sisters of Mercy and two lay teachers. The Reverend Christopher P. Murray was appointed director of Knoxville Catholic High School in 1941.

Under the direction of Father Murray, additional space was added including a gymnasium-auditorium, dressing rooms, showers, and a science laboratory. In 1947, Knoxville Catholic High School, often referred to by the acronym KCHS, became an accredited member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

March 1951 saw the breaking of ground for another addition. The new building included five classrooms, a library, offices, lavatories, and an addition to the gymnasium. Space was made for a cafeteria and a chapel.

The extensive campus provided fields for softball, basketball, and other sports. Father Herbert Prescott became the first priest-principal of Knoxville Catholic High School in 1962. Father John Batson was named principal in 1965 and Father Xavier Mankel in 1967. Father Mankel had a long and distinguished career helping to monitor and guide the growth and development of KCHS until 1979.

Father Michael Johnston was appointed as the fourth priest-principal to serve KCHS in 1979. Father Frank Richards followed in 1982. At this time the School Board of KCHS began to organize a major capital Fund Raising Campaign to ensure the future of the private, Catholic school located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Father G. Patrick Garrity arrived as principal in 1985. The school continued to grow in facilities and students.

Enrollment continued to increase over the next several years and with it a growth of faculty. The decision to move KCHS to a new facility was announced in February 1997. After almost seven decades on Magnolia Avenue, Knoxville Catholic High School would be moving to the Cedar Bluff area in West Knoxville. In July 1997, Mr. Philip Dampf became the principal of KCHS and he oversaw the school’s move to West Knoxville.

By January 2000, the construction of the new facilities was complete. Knoxville Catholic High School relocated to 9245 Fox Lonas Road and was dedicated by Bishop Joseph E. Kurtz on January 3, 2000. In 2001, Mr. Dampf resigned and Dr. Aurelia Montgomery was appointed as Interim Principal. After the successful completion of a $1 million campaign, KCHS was proud to announce the building of an All Sports Complex. Construction of the All Sports Complex was finished in 2002 in order to accommodate the growing athletic programs for KCHS.

In 2004, Dr. Montgomery retired as Interim Principal and the search committee found a successful candidate in Dickie Sompayrac, who began his tenure as KCHS principal in 2005. Also in 2005 a new Performing Arts Center was built and dedicated, providing much needed space for the performing arts. As enrollment continues to increase, plans are underway to build additional facilities.

In November 2006, Catholic High launched a three-phased Living our Mission through Growth Capital Campaign.

On January 6, 2008, KCHS celebrated the completion of a new wing with a blessing ceremony performed Reverend Al Humbrecht. The expansion was the first phase of the school's capital campaign and added ten classrooms, a guidance suite, and additional parking to the campus. Reverend Chris Michelson, Pastor of St. Albert the Great and Capital Campaign Chair, announced the wing would be dedicated as Schaad Hall.[citation needed]

With a[citation needed] donation to the school’s endowment from the late Isabel Ashe Bonnyman ‘39, Knoxville Catholic High School[who?] was able to complete the second phase of the campaign and provide the school with a solid financial foundation. Faris Field House was named for John and Sondra Faris and completed the school's capital effort. It added 8,000 square feet of weight training facilities, athletic offices, locker rooms, and storage for the Catholic school's growing boys’ and girls’ fitness programs.[citation needed]


KCHS is a member of the National Catholic Education Association and accredited by:

- Tennessee Department of Education
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville

Each student takes eight classes a semester and attends seven each day. KCHS uses a rotating block schedule system for an optimum learning environment.


Knoxville Catholic is the home of the Fighting Irish. The school colors are green and gold.


The Irish have had six Mr. Football winners: Rob Demastus was named the Division II-A back of the year in 1999, Jeremy Bentley was named the Division II-A/AA lineman of the year in 2003, Nick McFadden was named the Division II-A/AA back of the year in 2004, and Harrison Smith was named the Division I-AAA back of the year in 2006.[2] Harrison Smith was also named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Tennessee. In 2008, senior Daniel Hood was named the Division I Class 3A lineman of the year. In 2010 Kyler Kerbyson was named Division 1 Class 5A lineman of the year.

In 2008, the Fighting Irish, led by coach Mark Pemberton, had a perfect season, with a 15-0 record, beating Memphis Mitchell in the state finals.

State Titles[edit]

Knoxville Catholic has won five individual state championships in TSSAA sports[3] as well as four state individual championships in swimming and diving. Knoxville Catholic also has 1 Tennis state title and one men's soccer state title.[4] Knoxville Catholic also won a Football state title in 2008, when the team went 15-0. In 2013, the Lady Irish Soccer team won their first state title beating the neighboring Christian Academy of Knoxville 3-0. [5]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ SACS-CASI. "SACS-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  2. ^ "Former Mr. Football Winners". Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  3. ^
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External links[edit]