Sponsors, partners, media and coaches met at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County on Tuesday for a press conference that detailed a trio of landmark additions that will debut at the 2019 MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic presented by the Georgia Army National Guard.
Firstly, Coolray Field is the site of Day 2 of the Classic on Friday, Aug. 23. Archer against Tucker at 5:30 p.m. and defending Class AAAAAAA state champion Milton vs. 11-time state champion Buford at 8:30 p.m. will be the first-ever football games played at the venue. Secondly, CBS 46 is bringing the 28-year event to network television for the first time in its history as the new broadcasting partner of the Corky Kell Classic.
Additionally, the Georgia Army National Guard signed on to become the event’s naming presenting sponsor. The official title of the event will be the MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic presented by the Georgia Army National Guard.
“It was really cool walking into Coolray Field on such a nice day and imagining what this will look like in August,” said Corky Kell Director and Score Atlanta President IJ Rosenberg to open the press conference. “I’m very proud to be here. … If you put those three pieces of news together, this is a significant moment for a high school kickoff classic.”
Gwinnett Sports Commission Executive Director Stan Hall took the podium and spoke about the venue. “This is certainly an exciting day for us. You won’t have to twist my arm for me to brag about this facility. So we could not be more thrilled to be able to expose this facility in a different matter, through a different sports discipline with the Corky Kell Classic. We couldn’t ask for a better event to do this.”
Adam English took over as Vice President and General Manager of the Gwinnett Stripers less than four months ago, and talked about the impact that bringing the Corky Kell Classic to Coolray Field will have. “One of the first things I said when I joined this organization, was how important being a part of the community is. I could not think of a better way to embrace this community than to host one of the most iconic high school sporting events in the country.”
WGCL/CBS46 General Manager Lyle Banks echoed the excitement and reflected on how the opportunity to broadcast the Corky Kell unfolded. “It’s interesting how things go,” said Banks. “A year ago around this time, we had a meeting in my office. I had just moved to Atlanta and I remember talking about football, and my sales manager was in the meeting with me and he said ‘What about Corky Kell’? And I was thinking ‘What is that?’ IJ said, respectfully, ‘it’s just not available right now’ and my sales manager was very disappointed. It took me a very short time to realize how significant it was and how iconic it was. Even though our network and our TV station broadcasts all these iconic sports like the Masters, Super Bowl, SEC, ACC and all those things, for us, being involved in local sports and the community is really the holy grail for us. We can’t wait.”
The four head coaches appearing in the double-header scheduled for Aug. 23 closed the press conference.
Milton head coach Adam Clack: “Gwinnett County definitely plays great football, but when you put us all together with Gwinnett, Fulton, DeKalb and the Metro Atlanta area, I’ll go a step further and go on record saying that we are the best football in the country. So that’s what I believe the Corky Kell brings. It is a very unique event, and nothing quite like this. When they were asking me the plan to take Milton football further and kind of to the next level, one of the first things I said is we need to get into events like the Corky Kell. It’s not going to be a magical silver bullet, but it shows your kids that we believe they belong in events like this with other great teams. We were fortunate to be here last year, and I think it has a significant impact on setting the tone for the rest of the season. It also gave us a great carrot in the offseason and something to work for and to be excited about.”
Archer head coach Andy Dyer: “Coolray Field is a great venue, I’m a baseball guy. So this is a lot of fun for me. I think back watching those old school running backs running through the diamond at Fulton County Stadium. For us that grew up in the 1980’s that watched the NFL, this is a great throwback.”
Buford head coach Bryant Appling: “I’m a new head coach, but I’ve been at Buford for 15 years and I know the pressure. That doesn’t really matter on that end. I’m excited to be coming to Coolray. It’s right down the road from us so I am hoping we bring a lot of fans and that we represent the Green and Gold the best we can. In the end, I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Tucker head coach Bryan Lamar: “We are excited to be playing at Coolray Field. It reminds me of the good ole days when I used to watch the Falcons have to go down and play early in the season on the diamond. It is going to be exciting. I think it is a good change of pace. I like when I go through film and get to watch games being played in all the different venues. Coolray Field is going to be great and we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hopefully Archer will make a couple mistakes and we can take advantage of them and come out with a win. I know coach Dyer is going to have his team well-prepared. They always are.”
2019 Corky Kell Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 22 at ROME HIGH SCHOOL
5:30 p.m. Ridgeland vs. Calhoun
8:30 p.m. Rome vs. Marietta
Friday, Aug. 23, at COOLRAY FIELD
5:30 p.m. Archer vs. Tucker
8:30 p.m. Buford vs. Milton
Saturday, Aug. 24, at MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM
9 a.m. Kell vs. Mays
11:45 a.m. Nocross vs. Walton
2:45 p.m. North Gwinnett vs. Colquitt County
5:45 p.m. Brookwood vs. McEachern
8:45 p.m. Mill Creek vs. East Coweta