Whenever Dennis Lindsay let the purple Gatorade flow, Farragut High School girls soccer seemed to win big games.
An FHS soccer coach for almost 30 years, Lindsay’s 26 years as girls varsity skipper produced five Class AAA state runner-up finishes, 12 region titles, 11 district crowns and state Coach of the Year honors in 2004.
Not bad for a former Bearden Bulldog basketball and football player who was rezoned to, and graduated from, West High School (Class of 1965).
“It was just time. But it was a tough decision,” said Lindsay, FHS girls head coach since 1991 who began as an Admirals assistant coach in 1987. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself now because I haven’t done anything but soccer for the last 100 years it seems like.”
Named Region 2-AAA Coach of the Year 12 times and District 4-AAA Coach of the Year nine times, Lindsay’s career record ends at 447-105-48.
“I believe my fondest memories are the relationships I’ve had over the years. All the friendships I’ve developed,” said Lindsay, also FHS boys head coach for five seasons, from 1997 through the 2001 season.
“I’ll miss the comeraderie with the players the most,” Lindsay added. “Of course, I do enjoy the competition.”
“The thing that I was always impressed with the most was how much he cared for the girls and how much he put us before himself,” said Jessie Stephens, an All-state Lady Admirals forward and defender (Class of 2006) who went on to play at Carson-Newman University. A teacher at North-shore Elementary School, Ste-phens has been an assistant coach under Lindsay since the fall 2010 season. “How much he believed in setting the example of work ethic and hard work, instilling a never-give-up attitude.
“He pushed us and he challenged us, and made us work harder and harder than we thought we were able to work,” she added. “He called it like it was … but he was honest with you and up front with you about it.”
As for superstitions, “Coach makes the best purple Gatorade ever,” Stephens said. “We always joked, ‘we win big games when we have the purple Gatorade.’ It’s actually played out for years like that. … Coach would show up every big game and have purple Gatorade.”
That included last fall in the District 4-AAA tourney “when we beat [No. 1 seed] Bearden in the semifinals as underdogs,” Stephens said. “… Coach pulled out the purple Gatorade and we’re like, ‘yes, we got this.’”
“He was an interesting man, and he was one of the most kind men you’d probably ever meet. His heart is dedicated to Farragut soccer,” said Josie Jennings, a former FHS All-American and three-time All-state defender [Class of 2014] who just finished her junior season as a Tennessee Volunteers redshirt junior defender.
“He’d be out there before all of us girls would get onto the field, making the field perfect for us. We owe, basically, everything to him for those four years.”
“Since I’ve retired I’ve been getting e-mails and texts and calls galore,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay said his introduction into soccer dates back to the early 1980s.
“My daughters [Michelle and Tara] got into it, so I kind of got lassoed in, the other parents requested me to help out,” Lindsay said about AYSO soccer. “That was a blast.”
“Then I got me a competitive [club] team,” he added. “It was a pretty good team. We won three or four state championships.”
After a few years coaching competitive club soccer, “I bowed out of the club scene. … I was coaching high school, and I didn’t think it was fair for me to coach them and them not have another coach their whole life,” Lindsay said.
“He has been a great asset to the Farragut High School soccer program,” Donald Dodgen, FHS athletic director, said. “Mr. [Ryan] Siebe [FHS principal] and myself both appreciate all the stuff he’s done throughout the years for Farragut High School. We wish him good luck.”