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Bridging The Gap Between Academics and Athletics

Prep school football team coming to Huntsville

Tennessee Valley Prep's first head coach has more than 20 years experience in the college and high school ranks.

By Daniel Boyette dboyette@al.com Keith Tincknell was exhausted. The longtime football coach was concluding 2016 spring practice and his fourth season as Bob Jones' defensive line coach when he realized that his "fire wasn't burning as hot as it had been." So, after 20 years, Tincknell stepped away from coaching to recharge and spend more time with his daughter. He passed on job opportunities this past spring and was unsure of when he would return to the sidelines. Then he heard about Tennessee Valley Prep Sports Academy, a new program based in Huntsville that will field its first football team in 2018. Tincknell expressed interest and was named head coach in early July. "It was one of those things I couldn't pass up," Tincknell, 47, said. "I said I was going to get out of it and I did get out for a year. Everything kind of fell into place. It had to be the right job at the right time and have the right opportunities with the right people." TVPSA will give student-athletes who have graduated high school a chance to improve their academic stsanding or playing skills in hopes of catching on with a university or junior college team. Players can attend TVPSA for two semesters. "I think it's going to be an unbelievable thing for Huntsville and north Alabama to give these kids an opportunity to have another chance to get looked at," Tincknell said. "And then you get the kids who weren't (academic) qualifiers and get them in, take prep classes and get them going in the right direction. I think it's going to be a very positive thing for the area."