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More than 30,000 Nashville television households tuned in for the IndyCar Music City Grand Prix

The Tennessean (Nashville) 8/11/2022 Mike Organ, Nashville Tennessean

The Nashville market delivered a 3.0 television rating for the 2022 IndyCar Big Machine Music City Grand Prix Sunday, according to NewsChannel 5 senior programming director Mark Binda.

That means 33,633 Nashville households turned in to see six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon hold off pole winner Scott McLaughlin in the fourth-closest margin of victory (.1067 seconds) in IndyCar road course series history.

Due to a two-hour weather delay, the race began on NBC (Channel 4 locally) before moving to CNBC at 5 p.m.

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The television rating was down from the 5.6 (62,782 households) the inaugural race earned in 2021.

Nashville music mogul Scott Borchetta adds Marco Andretti to NASCAR team

(L-R) Marco Andretti and Chase Elliott talk before the SRX race at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Saturday, July 17, 2021. © Brett Carlsen, Brett Carlsen / For The Tennessean (L-R) Marco Andretti and Chase Elliott talk before the SRX race at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Saturday, July 17, 2021.

Nashville music mogul and NASCAR Xfinity team owner Scott Borchetta announced that Marco Andretti will join his Big Machine Spiked Coolers team.

Andretti, 35, the grandson of motorsports legend Mario Andretti, will make his NASCAR debut driving the No. 48 car for Borchetta’s team Oct. 8 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Andretti retired from IndyCar racing after the 2020 season. He has raced in the Superstar Racing Series the last two years.

He won the championship this season after finishing second in the Nashville race in July.

Vanderbilt's Robert Couch joins Centre football staff

Robert Couch © Submitted Robert Couch

Former Vanderbilt offensive lineman Robert Couch is the new offensive line coach at Centre.

Couch a native of Plainview, Texas, started in 41 games for the Commodores from 1992-95.

Couch was the coach at Windermere High School in Florida the last two seasons and before that was offensive quality control coach and offensive line coach for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2016-19.

George Plaster inducted into radio hall of fame

Veteran Nashville sports radio broadcaster George Plaster was inducted Saturday into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame.

Plaster started his own sports talk radio show in 1989.

He has served as the play-by-play announcer for Vanderbilt, Memphis State and Georgia Tech and was named by Talkers Magazine as one of the 250 most influential talk radio hosts in America.

Plaster’s show is currently streamed on Main Street Media of Tennessee. 

Pieces of the original McGavock gym floor being sold

Squares of the McGavock gym floor are being sold as a fundraiser for the school’s athletic department.

Installation of a new floor is nearly complete.

The original parquet floor was put down when the school opened in 1971. Unpainted 3x3-inch squares are being sold for $5. Painted baseline or sideline squares are $8.

The squares will be sold until none are left or until the end of November.

To purchase a square contact athletic director David Burr at

Father Ryan's Petrone joins Austin Peay communications staff

Nicholas Petrone © Austin Peay Athletics Nicholas Petrone

Father Ryan graduate Nicholas Petrone is the new director of athletics communication at Austin Peay.

After graduating from Hanover in 2007 Petrone did his internship at Vanderbilt.

He was named assistant communications director at Mars Hill the following year and then had stints at Stephens College, Thomas University, Pacific, Husson and Central Methodist.

He spent the last two years as director of athletics communications at Hendrix College.

Phil Fulmer will be guest speaker at the Wilson County FCA banquet

Former Tennessee football coach and athletics director Phil Fulmer will serve as guest speaker at the Wilson County Fellowship of Christian Athletes annual fundraiser banquet.

The banquet is Oct. 25 at the Wilson County Expo Center in Lebanon.

Reservations are available by emailing Tim Bryant at or Kallie Mathews at For more information visit

Brentwood Academy football field set for 50th anniversary 

Brentwood Academy head coach Carlton Flatt, who has the most wins as a Tennessee high school coach, poses Nov. 29, 2006 at the school's football field that is named after him. © Shelley Mays / The Tennessean Brentwood Academy head coach Carlton Flatt, who has the most wins as a Tennessee high school coach, poses Nov. 29, 2006 at the school's football field that is named after him.

On Sept. 1 Brentwood Academy will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of its first home football field.

The program started in 1970 but did not have a home field until 1972. The first two seasons all games were played on the opponents field or neutral sites.

In 1972 the Eagles played nine home games and won seven. They posted a 9-2 overall record.

The first home game was against Hume Fogg, which the Eagles won 39-14.

The field was named in legendary coach Carlton Flatt’s honor in 1997.

West High and Vanderbilt hoops great Billy Joe Adcock dies at 94

Vanderbilt's Bill Joe Adcock (33). © Submitted Vanderbilt's Bill Joe Adcock (33).

West High and Vanderbilt basketball great Billy Joe Adcock died on July 29. He was 94.

Adcock helped lead West to two state basketball championships while also lettering in football and baseball.

He became Vanderbilt's first scholarship basketball player after turning down offers from Kentucky and Tennessee. He was a four-year starter and in 1950 became the Commodores first All-American (Sporting News).

Adcock also was a two-time All-SEC performer and left Vanderbilt as the all-time leading scorer with 1,190 points.

He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports and Vanderbilt halls of fame.

Guerriero promoted to TSU assistant AD 

Nick Guerriero © Tennessee State Athletics Nick Guerriero

Just eight months after being hired as Tennessee State’s director of athletic communications Nick Guerriero has been promoted to assistant athletics director for communications and creative content.

Guerriero has also been placed in charge of athletic department marketing, ticketing and external affairs.

Guerriero is a New York native who previously served as director of communications at George Washington.

New turf put down in TSU's indoor facility 

New turf was installed at Tennessee State's indoor football facility. © Tennessee State Athletics New turf was installed at Tennessee State's indoor football facility.

New artificial turf has been installed in TSU’s indoor football practice facility.

It’s the first time the turf has been replaced since the 60,750-square foot facility opened in 2011.

The football offices, currently located in the Hemple Building on campus, will be moved into the indoor facility in the future.

Sounds offering batting practice for fans

The Nashville Sounds will offer batting practice at First Horizon Park Aug. 17, 19, 20, 24 and 25. The sessions will be from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Pricing ranges from $50-$65 per person depending on the day and time. Groups are required to have a minimum of 10 participants.

The experience includes 60 minutes of on-field time, access to the Sounds dugout, Sounds staff members to operate the pitching machine and supply baseballs, a batting practice playlist choice and live guitar scoreboard feed featuring names of participants.

For more information on group booking call 615-690-4487 or visit

Lipscomb Academy coach Kevin Starks going into Harding hall of fame

Kevin Starks © Lipscomb Academy Kevin Starks

Lipscomb Academy boys basketball coach Kevin Starks is in the inaugural Harding Academy Athletics Hall of Fame class.

Starks will be inducted as a player and coach. He played at Harding Academy from 1990-93 and served as boys basketball coach and athletic director from 2004-19.

He led the Lions to three state championships (2008, 2009 and 2015) and one other appearance.

In 2019 Starks spent four months as assistant boys basketball coach at Brentwood Academy before accepting a similar position a Grace Christian Academy.

He became the boys coach and assistant athletics director at Lipscomb in 2020.

Kok, Breen and Personett finish in top four in Professional Championship

Johan Kok © Submitted Johan Kok

Local golfers Johan Kok finished second, Bill Breen was third and Loren Personett was fourth in the 54th annual Tennessee PGA Professional Championship at Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon.

Casey Flenniken from Knoxville was the winner after posting a 14-under 202.

He held off Kok, who led until the 14th hole then bogeyed 15 and 17.

Breen was three strokes back at 10 under and Personett, the defending champion, was 9 under.

Belmont's Egekeze signs pro hoops deal in Finland

Amanze Egekeze, who played at Belmont from 2014-18, signed a pro contract with Joensuun Kataja in Finland.

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 8.9 points and 3.9 rebounds for Donar Groningen in Holland last season. He and former Belmont point guard Austin Luke teamed up to lead Donar to the league championship.

Egekeze averaged 10.8 points and 4.1 rebounds for Gries Oberhoffen in France during the 2020-21 season.

The Lake in the Hills, Illinois native is also a member of the Nigeria national men's basketball team.

MTSU fan day is Aug. 21

Middle Tennessee Football Fan Day is Aug. 21 at Floyd Stadium. The free event is from 3-5 p.m.

Activities include inflatables, giveaways, free concessions and autograph sessions with the Blue Raiders, coach Rick Stockstill and his staff.

The band Everyday People will perform and season tickets will be on sale.

The season kicks off Sept. 3 at James Madison.

TSU pitching standout Lauren Powell joins Cumberland staff

Lauren Powell © Cumberland Athletics Lauren Powell

Lauren Powell, a four-year starter on the Tennessee State softball team, has been hired as an assistant at Cumberland.

 Powell was a pitcher who finished in the top five at TSU in all-time strikeouts with 260.

She was the Tigers' offensive MVP in 2018 and co-MVP in 2020.

In her senior season the Huntsville, Alabama native posted five complete games. She struck out 50 batters in 53 innings.

Since graduating Powell spent time giving private pitching lessons.

Tech offering women's football clinic

Tennessee Tech will offer a women’s football clinic before the Golden Eagles scrimmage on Aug. 20.

The clinic begins at 4:30 p.m. Registration is available at or by calling Katie Pleasant at 931-372-3709.

After the clinic there will be an autograph session with the Golden Eagles, coach Dewayne Alexander and his staff, free hotdogs and soft drinks, music, bounce houses and cornhole tournaments.

The scrimmage kicks off at 7 p.m.

Ex-TSU coach Cy Alexander hired at Alcorn State

Cy Alexander © Submitted Cy Alexander

Former TSU men’s basketball coach Cy Alexander joined the Alcorn State staff as an assistant.

Along with being the coach at TSU (2003-09) Alexander, 68, had head coaching stints at South Carolina State (1987-2003) and North Carolina A&T (2012-16).

 He compiled 392 wins in his head coaching career.

Belmont's Van Horne finishes second in Korn Ferry Tour event

Ashton Van Horne © Submitted Ashton Van Horne

Former Belmont golfer Ashton Van Horne was runner-up at the Korn Ferry Tour's Utah Championship.

Van Horne shot a final round 64 to finish tied for second with two others at 20-under 264, one shot behind the champion, Andrew Kozan.

Van Horne, who played at Belmont from 2013-16, moved up to 58th in the tour's points standings.

Duke administrator named Austin Peay deputy AD

Niesha Campbell is Austin Peay’s new deputy athletic director and senior woman administrator.

Campbell spent the last eight years as an administrator at Duke.

She began her career with the Blue Devils’ as associate director of compliance before moving into roles as director of human resources, director of athletics’ annual fund and ultimately as director of major gifts.

Hillwood fundraiser tennis tournament is Sept. 10 

Registration is open for the second annual Combo Doubles Hillwood High School Fundraiser Tennis Tournament.

It will be played Sept. 10 at Hillwood with proceeds benefiting Tennis Nashville and the Hillwood High tennis program. The cost is $30 per player.

There will be three divisions based on skill level — advanced, intermediate and novice.

Each doubles team is guaranteed at least three matches. 

Register at or contact tournament director Stuart Littleton at for more information.

If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contract Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: More than 30,000 Nashville television households tuned in for the IndyCar Music City Grand Prix

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