COACHES / STAFF 2020-05-31T19:52:17-05:00


Scott Blade
Head Coach

24 Years Coaching
8th Year at Independence

Career Highlights:
2005 CIF Champions at Canyon High School – Assistant Coach
2006 4A State Runners-up at Hillsboro HS – Head Coach
2008 4A State Champions at Hillsboro HS – Head Coach
2015 5A State Champions at Independence HS – Head Coach
2015 Tennessee Titans High School Coach of the Year
2016 5A State Runner up – Head Coach
Overall Record: 135-47

Spouse: Shari / Children: Lauren, Lexis, Brooke

Lance White
Assistant, Defensive Coordinator

22 Years Coaching
8th Year at Independence

Career Highlights:
2016 Tennessee 5A State Runner-up
2015 Tennessee 5A State Championship

Spouse: Mary Beth White / Children: Emma Grace and Ian

Chad Gates
Freshman Head Coach

23 Years Coaching
16th 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 Champions
2007 Tennessee 5A State Runner-up

Spouse: Denise / Children: Brock and Audrey

Mike Riazzi
Assistant – Linemen

34 Years Coaching
4th 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

Carter Pillow

15th Year Coaching
3rd year at Independence

Played football at Lambuth University 1990- 1991
Served in the United States Navy 1991-1995

Previously coached at Freedom Middle 1995-2002, Heritage Middle 2013-2018

Spouse: Sonia Pillow / Children: Perris, Ana, Ian, Jarren and Gavin

Brandon Swayze
Assistant – Safeties

3rd year Coach
3rd 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 he received his Masters in teacher education. He currently teaches U.S. History.

Jeff Parker

2nd Year at Independence

Demetreous Garrett

2nd Year at Independence

Chris Holloway

2nd Year at Independence

Aron Flowers
Assistant – Running Backs

1st Year at Independence

Eric Smith
Assistant – Wide Receivers/Defensive Backs

1st Year at Independence

Brandi Mangrum
Certified Athletic Trainer

18 Years as Athletic Trainer
15th 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 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)

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