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Dobyns-Bennett High School

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Title: Dobyns-Bennett High School  
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Subject: Kingsport Mets, John Philip Sousa Foundation, Kingsport, Tennessee, Elle and Blair Fowler, Hal Miller (American football)
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Dobyns-Bennett High School

Dobyns-Bennett High School

Kingsport, Tennessee
United States

Type Public
Established 1918
School district Kingsport City Schools
Principal Dr. Chris Hampton
Enrollment 1822
Color(s) Maroon      and Grey     
Mascot Indian

Dobyns-Bennett High School is a high school (grades 9–12) in Kingsport, Tennessee. It typically educates around 1,800 students, although enrollment for the 2014–15 academic year exceeded 2,100 students.

As a part of Kingsport City Schools, students must be city residents paying city taxes to attend. Students that are not residents of the city may pay a tuition fee to attend. This tuition is collected to account for tax differences between county and city residents in order to help subsidize the cost of school programs and facilities. Dobyns-Bennett features a variety of programs for students of all academic levels. The many classes offered cater to many types of students who may want to attend technical schools or universities across the nation.


  • History 1
  • Facilities 2
  • Faculty 3
  • Athletics 4
  • Music and the arts 5
  • Radio station 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9
  • See also 10


Dobyns-Bennett High School was first organized as a regular standard high school in 1918–19 As Central High School. Before that date some high school work had been done as advanced work in the elementary schools. The high school was approved by the State Board of Education in 1919 and was accredited by the Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges in 1922.

The first organized high school was housed in a wooden building located where the First Presbyterian Church now stands. The Central High School building was completed in 1918 and was used until 1926 when the high school was moved to new quarters at the present John Sevier Middle School. To honor the first mayor of the city, J. W. Dobyns, and the first Chairman of the Board of Education, W. M. Bennett. The name was changed in 1926 to Dobyns-Bennett High School.

Because Dobyns-Bennett included both junior high school and high school, the building soon proved inadequate and, in 1934, the junior high was moved to Lincoln, and a new Lincoln School was built. In 1946–47 it became evident that Dobyns-Bennett was again being outgrown. Some of the freshmen had classes and home rooms at the junior high. In July 1947, disaster struck Dobyns-Bennett when the auditorium burned, and the shop and home economics department were destroyed. A new auditorium and a cafeteria below it were completed in December 1948. Construction also began on additions to the building in the fall of 1948, which were completed a year later. From the late 1920s until desegregation was achieved in 1966, Kingsport's Black students attended Frederick Douglass High School, located on Louis Street in the Riverview neighborhood. Douglass closed its doors in 1966, and its students were assimilated into the Dobyns-Bennett student body, one of the last segregated schools in the region to do so. At the time, Douglass High School was the largest African-American school in Upper East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Southeast Kentucky, and the largest between Knoxville, Tennessee and Roanoke, Virginia. By 1958, D-B was beginning to outgrow its facilities again and, when one looked ahead, there was a need for a still larger, more comprehensive, school structure.

In 1965 construction was begun on the new school. It was completed and in use by the fall of 1967. Since that time, both the curriculum and the student body have continued to grow. Highlights of the expansion included the new opening of the vocational wing in 1976, an event which introduced new shop programs to the D-B curricula. At the same time, the ninth grade was added to the school for the first time in twenty-five years while Kingsport's two junior high schools were converted to middle schools. Presently Dobyns-Bennett serves all the students in the City of Kingsport grades nine through twelve.[1]


The Dobyns-Bennett campus includes the Buck Van Huss Dome, a local landmark and the largest non-industrial facility in Kingsport and surrounding area. The Dome is the home of the Dobyns-Bennett boys basketball team and the DB Lady Indians. The dome is adjoined to Dobyns-Bennett and is used for sporting events, wellness classes, as well as student spirit events. The school also has an artificial turf football field that was installed in 2008. In 2014, J. Fred Johnson was expanded adding an upper deck and nearly 1,000 additional chair back seats. A new press box was added as well. A video scoreboard was also installed courtesy of Pal Barger.


On June 4, 2009, the Kingsport City School Board announced the former Andrew Johnson Elementary School principal, Lenore Kilgore, as the new principal.[2] Mrs. Kilgore was replaced in June 2011 by former assistant principal, Dr. Chris Hampton. The school's assistant principals are Eric Lyons, Dr. Brian Tate, Randy Watts, Beth Cohen, and Richard "Band Jive" Brown [3] rounding out the administration.[4] As for the counselors, Ms. Sandi Nelson, Ms. Wendy Wolfe, Mr. Eric Freeman, Ms. Kayte Daffron, Ms. Lisa Pierce, Ms. Tammy Wolfe (Career Counselor), Ms. Rebecca Osborne (Graduation Coach), Ms. Krista Litton (Testing Coordinator), Ms. Nikki Joyce (Counseling Secretary), and Ms. Teresa Livesay (Registrar).[5]


The boys' basketball team is the most successful basketball program in the country with over 2100 wins. The baseball program is the most successful program in the country, in addition to the football team which is the most successful in the state. Also longtime baseball coach Mike Ritz and longtime basketball coach Buck van Huss both rank in the top ten in wins in the country in their respective sports.

Thanks in part to the school's long history, in January 2007, a boys basketball team's victory made Dobyns-Bennett the first basketball program—high school, college or professional—in the country to win 2,000 games.[6]

Annually, Dobyns-Bennett alumni participate in a golf tournament aptly named the "Tribe Cup". The Tribe Cup honors former Dobyns-Bennett coaches Eddie "Goose" Durham and Darrell "Catfish" Watson. Team Goose won the Tribe Cup in 2014 and retained the cup in 2015.[7]

Music and the arts

Dobyns-Bennett is also home to the largest marching band in the state of Tennessee with almost 400 members. The Band has performed on the national stage at such venues such as Lucas Oil Stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium, and the Georgia Dome. The band has performed three times in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade and made its fifth appearance in the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade in November 2011. The DB Band represented the State of Tennessee in the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Parade. The DB Band is the 2013 and 2014 Grand Champion of the Tournament of Champions hosted by Western Carolina University.[8] The DB Band was also named Grand Champion of the 2013 and 2014 Bands of American Super Regionals held in Winston-Salem, NC. In that contest, they received caption awards for Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance, and Outstanding General Effect.[9] The Dobyns-Bennett Wind Ensemble also has a long tradition of excellence and has performed at the Midwest Clinic twice, last in 2009.[10] The Dobyns-Bennett Music and Performing Arts Department also includes the orchestra and Chamber orchestra. The Dobyns-Bennett Band is a 2004 recipient of the Sudler Flag of Honor and 2014 recipient of the Sudler Shield. Dobyns-Bennett is only one of sixteen high schools worldwide that have received both the Sudler Flag of Honor for concert band and the Sudler Shield for marching band.[11] These awards are administered by the John Philip Sousa Foundation and recognizes high school band programs internationally for particularly significant high standards of sustained excellence.[12]

The marching band participated in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2014 in Pasadena, CA.[13]

Radio station

Local radio station 90.3 FM WCSK is broadcast from the Career and Technical Building at Dobyns-Bennett.[14]

Notable alumni

  • Lisa Alther – Author of Kinflicks and several other novels
  • Skip Brown – Basketball Player, High School and College All-American, Wake Forest (1973–77); selected in 1977 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
  • Bob Cifers – Back, Tennessee (1946 Detroit Lions; 1947–48 Pittsburgh Steelers; 1949 Green Bay Packers)
  • Ed Cifers – End, Tennessee (1941–42, 1946 Washington Redskins; 1947–48 Chicago Bears)
  • Denny Crawford – T, Tennessee (1948 New York Yankees (AAFC))
  • Bobby Dodd – College Football Hall of Fame member as a player at Tennessee and coach at Georgia Tech.
  • Mike Faulkerson Dulaney – FB, North Carolina (1995–1997 Chicago Bears; 1998 Carolina Panthers)
  • Patrick Ghee – S, Wake Forest University
  • Daniel Kilgore – C, Appalachian State (2011–12 San Francisco 49ers)
  • John Palmer – News reporter for NSC news and Today
  • Jimmy Quillen – Tennessee State Representative, 1963–1997
  • Mike Roberts – professional baseball player and college baseball coach
  • Coty Sensabaugh – DB, Clemson (2012 Tennessee Titans)
  • Gerald Sensabaugh – S, East Tennessee State and North Carolina (2005–08 Jacksonville Jaguars; 2009–12 Dallas Cowboys)
  • Beryl Shipley – College and ABA Head Basketball Coach.


  1. ^ Dobyns-Bennett History
  2. ^ Kingsport Times News
  3. ^ Head Coaching Staff & Records
  4. ^ Administration
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Tournament of Champions
  9. ^
  10. ^ DB Band |
  11. ^ John Philip Sousa Foundation
  12. ^ Sousa Foundation Sudler Flag of Honor
  13. ^ Dobyns-Bennett Band invited to 2014 Rose Parade, WJHL, October 11, 2012
  14. ^ 90.3 FM WCSK Radio

External links

  • Official Dobyns-Bennett High School website

See also

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