Fort Knox, Ky., the Army post where the majority of the nation’s gold reserves are kept, is one of only four Army bases that has its own high school.
The Fort Knox Eagles were a powerhouse football team in the mid-80s and early 90s, winning three state titles and playing for the state title five times. Declining numbers and shorter deployments, however, have adversely affected the team, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2002 and ended a 40-game losing streak in 2009.
This week, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Football Academy held a clinic to help the Eagles and their new coach, Wes Arnold. Instructors included former ALL-USA and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson, former Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. and Denver Broncos former offensive specialist Brian Pariani.
The academy is run by Rich McGuinness, who created the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on NBC but sold his interest in his previous company. He became interested in Fort Knox High’s situation when he was helping to run the U.S. Army game and would have meetings at Fort Knox.
“I realized that they had a high school team that was barely hanging on and I wondered, ‘How does that work?’ ” McGuinness said. “It’s a storied program and ultimately, when the Army was strong with numbers, it was a powerhouse. Over the years, I saw the program get decimated by the shrinking numbers of the military and when I peeled back the layers and talked to the coach, I learned that almost none of the players are here for four years, so this high school team has the unique challenge of putting a team together every year of almost new kids.”
McGuinness talked to Arnold and came up with the idea of bringing the coaches from the Hall of Fame Football Academy in Canton, Ohio, to Fort Knox, which is about a six-hour drive. The camp was held Wednesday and Thursday and wraps up with a 7-on-7 session on Friday.
“I hope our players come away with a great lasting memory of this event and also build their skill sets to help propel us to a successful football season,” Arnold said in a release.