COACHES / STAFF 2018-08-05T11:46:43-05:00



Scott Blade – Head Coach (pictured)
22 Years Coaching
6th Year at Independence
Career Highlights – 2005 CIF Champions at Canyon High School – Asst. Coach, 2006 4A State Runners-up at Hillsboro HS-HC,
2008 4A State Champions at Hillsboro HS – HC, 2015 5A State Champions at Independence HS – HC,
2016 5A State Runner up, 21015 Tennessee Titans High School Coach of the Year
Overall Record 122-36
Spouse Shari / Children – Lauren (19), Lexis (19), Brooke (16)

Greg Burns – Assistant – Quarterbacks and Receivers
7 Years Coaching
7th Year at Independence

Originally from Lake Charles, LA and attended Leesville High School and McNeese State University where he played wide receiver and
earned a degree in Marketing

Spouse – Tina / Children – Luke (10)

Hunter Dupree – Assistant – Freshman
1st year Coaching
1st year at Independence
Coach Dupree, or “Dupes” as he’s more commonly known, is very excited to be helping out the team this year. This is his first-year coaching, and
he’s learned that it is more than just x’s and o’s. He’s helped out Coach Gates a lot with the defense of the freshman team,
prepping them for varsity and junior varsity play. He’s supper eddied to see what the future holds.

Chad Gates – Freshman Head Coach
21 Years Coaching
14th Year at Independence

Originally from California then attended Ripon College in Wisconsin where he played Defensive Line and Outside Linebacker
Career Highlights – 2016, Tennessee 5A State Runner- Up, 2015 Tennessee 5A State Champs, 2007 Tennessee 5A State Runner Up
Spouse – Denise /  Children – Brock (13) and Audrey (10)

Brandi Mangrum –  Certified Athletic Trainer
16 Years as Athletic Trainer
13th Year at Independence
BS of Science from Alabama, MS in Health Education from MTSU
She began her career at Brentwood Academy in 2003
2015 Named High School Athletic Trainer of the Year for the State of Tennessee at the Tennessee Athletic Trainer Society’s Annual Conference
2006 She came to Independence teaching Health Science and Rehabilitation
2016-17 Named Teacher of the Year at Independence
Spouse – Roy Mangrum (founder of  Barbell Voodoo), they married in 2010 on the 50 yard line on the football field at Independence
Furbabies (Rescue Pitbulls) – Bacon Saban (named after Nick Saban) and Ella Blade (named after Coach Scott Blade)

Thomas Murray – Assistant – Special Teams
4 Years Coaching
4th Year at Independence
Grew up on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and attended Hilton Head Preparatory School
Clemson University where he played football and golf. He is a licensed Realtor

Spouse – Katherine Johns / Children – Thomas (17), Faith (15) and Madeline (11)

Carter Pillow – Assistant
13th Year Coaching
1st year at Independence
Played football at Lambuth Univerisity 1990- 1991 and served in the United States Navy from 1991-1995
Previously coached at Freedom Middle 1995-2002, Heritage Middle 2013- 2018
Married to Sonia Pillow and have 5 wonderful children: Perris, Ana, Ian, Jarren and Gavin

Connor Pratt – Assistant
1st Year Coach
1st year at Independence
Played center for Independence High School and graduated in 2018

Mike Riazzi – Assistant – Linemen
32 Years Coaching
  2nd Year at Independence
Also coached in Florida, Texas, California and Kentucky
Graduate of Bristol Tennessee High School
Career Highlights – Working with incredible players and coaches, inducted into the Football Space Coast Hall of Fame
Spouse – Tracy /  Son – Patrick (23) teaches PE at IHS

Abner Smith – Assistant – Varsity Run Game Coordinator/Running Backs Coach/Cornerbacks Coach
1st year at Independence
Abner “A.B.” Smith will work closely with Coach Blade in establishing the foundation for the Eagle’s offense. Coach Smith will also serve on the defensive side of the ball as the defensive backs coach. Coach Smith has spent a number of years coaching and brings experience from both, offense and defense.   He comes to Indy from Ravenwood High School where he served as co-offensive coordinator (passing game) and coached receivers. His receivers led the Raptors Offense with over 2,500 receiving yards during the 2017 season. Prior to Ravenwood, Coach Smith was a part of the Wildcats of Battle Ground Academy where he spent two seasons coaching receivers and defensive backs. Coach Smith is a native of Franklin, TN and attended Page High School. As a high school athlete, Abner earned a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee Martin and was a member of the 2006 OVC Championship team. While in college, Abner realized he had a passion for impacting youth through the avenue of football and has spent the past eleven years pursuing his passion. He is very excited to play a vital role in the development of young men as athletes and servant leaders for their communities.

Brandon Swayze – Assistant – Safeties
1st year Coach
1st Year at Independence
Graduated from Independence in 2012 where he also played football.  Played college football at Gardner-Webb University and
then transferred to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville
where I got my Masters in teacher education. He is currently teaching U.S. History

Gary Tucker – Assistant – Defensive Tackles
5 Years Coaching
3rd Year at Independence
Graduate of Maryville High School
Played Defensive End for George Quarles and was a member of the 2002, 2004 and 2005 State Championship Teams
He also played Defensive End at Middle Tennessee State University. He also coached at Maryville
Children – Gamiah, Ellis, Akai and Elle / Girlfriend – Melissa Weiland

Lance White – Assistant – Defensive Coordinator
20 Years Coaching
6th Year at Independence

Career Highlights – 2016 Tennessee 5A State Runner- Up,  2015 Tennessee 5A State Championship
Spouse – Mary Beth White
Children – Emma Grace (8) and Ian (5)

Team Physician

Dr. Jeffrey Kutsikovich
Bone & Joint Institute at Williamson Medical Center

MTSU Students in the Athletic Training Education Program
Tre Williams

Indy Student Managers
Ashley Adornato
Emily Cole
Taylor Davenport
Amy Demke
Mackenzie Fields

Indie Kaminski

Maddie Maupin

Abby Porter

Tanner Smalling

Sydney Stapleton

Kiley Wallwork