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Mr. David Held, president of Mount de Sales Academy, announced the appointment of Gray Yates as the varsity football head coach.  Yates has coached the Cavaliers’ offensive line for the past seven years.

In 2008, Yates began his career as the quarterback coach and recruiting coordinator at his alma mater, Harding University in Arkansas, after a four-year playing career and two years as a graduate assistant. During that season, Harding’s quarterback led the division in total offense and was second in passing yards per game.

In 2010, Yates, who has a national certification in strength and conditioning, coordinated renovation of the weight training facilities at Harding Academy in Memphis, which is recognized as one of the state’s premier high school facilities. He also led the school’s track and field team to the first of four consecutive state championships.

“Gray brings significant coaching experience at the high school and college level to this position,” noted Held. “He has proven to be focused on excellence for our athletes on and off the field, and I am confident that he will build a winning football program that serves the needs of our students. Even more importantly, Coach Yates has fully embraced the mission of our school during his time here and possesses an intrinsic understanding of our goal to provide the best possible environment for spiritual, academic, and social growth.”

Yates, who will continue to coach track and field and teach science, plans to focus on building relationships with athletes and empowering them to develop the character and work ethic that honors God, the school, and the team.

“At Harding University, our head coach and my mentor believed the ultimate purpose of our football program was to honor God,” said Yates. “That focus enabled a college program that was historically average to become one of the premier division two football programs in the country. When our Cavaliers become men of faith, they will become great football players.”

The Cavaliers have had an impressive history in football winning three GHSA state championships in the 1970s and a GISA state championship in 1996. After returning to the GHSA eight years ago, Mount de Sales was the 1A region football champion with an undefeated season in 2019. The Academy and other private schools in the region recently announced that they are joining a new statewide private school athletic association in the 2022-23 school year.

Mount de Sales Academy, an independent Catholic school established in 1876 and sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy, is a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.