Donnie Graham

Hall of Fame • Class of 2011

Donnie Graham was a star track athlete at Powell High School, winning the Lobetti Award as East Tennessee's top schoolboy trackman in 1965. He participated in the KTC Youth program starting in the fifth grade, representing KTC in many local and regional summer meets. Graham ran and placed in the first Vol Classic as a junior at Powell and won the Vol Classic 100 yard dash as a senior.

Graham was recruited to run at the University of Tennessee where he specialized in the 100/220/440 yard dash and the sprint relays. Graham's UT freshmen relay team set freshman school records in the 440 and 880 yard relays. For four years he was an important part of UT's SEC Championship Track & Field teams and continued as a student coach for one year. Graham graduated from UT in 1970 and followed up with a Masters Degree from UT in 1981.

Graham began teaching and coaching track and football at West High School in 1970. From 1978 to 1980, Graham coached track at Bearden Junior High School. For the next 19 years he was the track coach at Bearden High School. In 1999 he was transferred to Halls High School where he served as Assistant Principal and Athletic Director, Interim Principal, and Principal until his retirement in 2005. From 2008 until 2011 he has served the Knox County School System as Interim Assistant Principal at Karns High School and then at South Doyle High School.

Graham was on the KTC Board of Directors in the 1990's and served as VP before his job requirements in administration called him away in 1999. He was also on the KTC committee that originated the KTC Expo road race.

Graham was an early member of the KTC/Tennessee Officials group and is probably the only known person to participate in, or officiate, every KTC Vol Classic track meet from the start until 2010. Graham has been a primary starter for the KTC Officials since the group's inception. The starter is perhaps one of the most difficult officiating responsibilities as it requires a lot of experience. He holds a Master Official certification from USA Track and Field (USATF), the governing body of track and field in the United States. This is the highest level for certified USATF officials and is reserved for those officials who are qualified to serve as lead officials on a national level. USATF recently honored Graham as an Outstanding Official for the Olympiad - 2009-2012. He also earned the honor as starter for the TSSAA State Track Championships for 30+ years. As a Master Official, and representing the Knoxville Track Club, Graham has worked NCAA National Championships, numerous SEC Conference track and cross-country championships, the AAU National Junior Olympics and the Mobil National meet. He has been the starter at conference championships for the Big South, Southern, Atlantic Sun, and ACC conferences.

Graham is the recipient of numerous other achievement and service awards including Lifetime Achievement from the University of Tennessee/Track Officials for the Sea Ray Relays in 2008 and the Robert Neff Award in 2003. His community involvement and leadership includes membership in eight different professional organizations and active roles as an officer or board member of numerous other organizations such as VP for Tennessee Association of Physical Education or Department Chair for East Tennessee Education Association Physical Education.

Donnie Graham is one of those unique members that started in the youth KTC track meets in the 60's and continued to serve and contribute to the KTC and community for years after.