Sullivan Central High School

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Sullivan Central High School

131 Shipley Ferry Rd
Blountville, Tennessee 37617

36°31′52.5″N 82°23′13.7″W / 36.531250°N 82.387139°W / 36.531250; -82.387139Coordinates: 36°31′52.5″N 82°23′13.7″W / 36.531250°N 82.387139°W / 36.531250; -82.387139
School type Public, high school
Founded 1968
School district Sullivan County Department of Education
Principal Loren Foster
Grades 912
Language English
Color(s)      White and      Orange
Athletics Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross-Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track, Volleyball
Mascot Cougars
Rival Sullivan East,
Sullivan North,
Sullivan South,
Dobyns Bennett,
Science Hill
Feeder schools Blountville Middle School, Holston Middle School

Sullivan Central High School is a 9th through 12th grade high school in Blountville, Tennessee. The two middle schools that feed into Central are Blountville Middle School and Holston Middle School. The school's mascot is the cougar. The current principal is Loren Foster.


The school opened in 1968 with its main building and eventually expanded by means of a classroom addition and a vocational building in 1978. The only construction since that time has been a football fieldhouse, which opened in the fall of 1997.

Athletics and electives[edit]

The school has athletic teams in all traditional varsity sports, including football, swimming, soccer, basketball, track, cross country, tennis, baseball, softball, and volleyball. Despite its relatively small enrollment, the school fields three men's basketball teams and two to three women's basketball teams in the same divisions. The majority of Central athletics maintain intense rivalries with the other three Sullivan County schools, South, North, and East High Schools, and in select sports with the local city schools of Dobyns Bennett, Tennessee High and Science Hill.


Sullivan Central High School has tryouts every spring for Varsity, Junior Varsity, and just recently, Competition Team members. A new edition to Central includes a Varsity Twirling team that performs at Varsity Football and Basketball games. The Varsity cheerleading squad cheers for the Varsity football team, and Varsity Boys' Basketball team. The Junior Varsity cheerleaders cheer for the Junior Varsity football team, as well as the Varsity Girls' Basketball team.


The heat to the Sullivan Central Pool went out in 2008. This is related to then-principal Melanie Riden asking for the pool to be closed in a meeting with Sullivan County in October 2008. The swim team then had to practice at sister school Sullivan North High School. The pool was reopened in January 2011, and was dedicated to Bradley Brock, a senior who died of cancer in September 2010.


From its beginnings in the early 70's, the Sullivan Central High School Band has become an integral part of the school and surrounding community.[citation needed] The Cougar Band program consists of 101 students performing in various groups and ensembles.

Faculty and administration[edit]

Central High School has a total of 76 teachers and administrators. The principal is Mr. Loren Foster. Assistant principals are Mr. Justin Calhoun, Dr. Jonathon Fields, and Mrs. Amy Mumpower.

2010 shooting[edit]

On August 30, 2010, around 8:30 a.m., The Student Resource Officer assigned to the school, Carolyn Gudger, first noticed a suspicious person "driving towards the back of the building",[1]Interview and asked his purpose for being there. She pulled alongside the car to ask if the man "was lost" and "what he needed". The driver claimed that "his brother worked here". The Officer then entered the building, went to her office, checked in and proceeded to walk with the principal to the front office to confront the man, Thomas Richard Cowan (aged 62). He waited briefly to speak with the principal, Melanie Riden. The gunman pulled his weapon after talking briefly with the principal, and Ms. Gudger immediately pulled her issued pistol and distracted him long enough to get the principal, Melanie Riden, to safety. The Officer ordered him to put his gun down. After leading him to an empty room, then a hallway, he began rambling about the Government and political issues. He attempted to pull a fire alarm in order to "get these kids out of here". Gudger kept talking to him while holding her pistol on him. His patience seemed to wane and he said, "lady, I don't want to have to shoot you". After Cowan closed one eye, and appeared to contemplate firing, Gudger heard an order from the police. "Sheriff's office! Put the gun down!". The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office had arrived. The man aimed at officers and was then shot when he aimed his weapon at the S.R.O. The suspect was the only person injured and was airlifted to a local hospital, where he later died.[2]


  1. ^ First-hand interview from Carolyn Gudger
  2. ^ "Police officers kill gunman at Sullivan Central". Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 

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