The name “Webb School of Knoxville” will be announced more than once at this year’s Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame induction celebration, as longtime accomplished head football coach and athletic director, David Meske, Webb alumnus and Olympic Gold Medalist, Davis Tarwater ’02, and George W. Sampson, founder/president of Cherokee Distributing Company and parent of four Spartan alumni, as well as a current Webb student, were among the nine inductees honored at the 38th Annual Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony this July.
- Since taking over Webb School’s varsity football program in 1985, David Meske has amassed a career coaching record of 267-130. He has led the Spartans to seven of its eight all-time football state championships; his first coming in 1996 and second 10 years later. He won back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010 and a historical three-peat from 2012 to 2014. Meske’s Spartan teams have finished state runners-up three times, reached post-season play 26 times, played in 15 state semifinals, and made a total of 10 state championship appearances.
In Webb School’s 60-plus-year football history, the Spartans have posted close to 400 wins. Coach Meske has been the head coach for more than half of those victories. Under Meske’s tutelage, ten Spartans have been named Mr. Football finalists and/or winners and numerous players have gone on to play at the collegiate level and beyond.
David Meske is a retired major in the United States Army reserves and also served in Operation Desert Storm. He has won multiple coach of the year and athletic director awards at the local and state levels, including: PrepXtra and KIL Coach of the Year honors, the Amateur Football Award presented by the East Tennessee National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, and an AF Bridges Athletic Director Award. In addition, he was a finalist for the NFL High School Coach of the Year.
Meske earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a master’s from the University of Tennessee. He came to Webb School in 1984 and in addition to coaching football, his career at Webb has included head wrestling coach (earning KIL Wrestling Coach of the Year honors in 1998), assistant baseball coach, and head boys’ and girls’ track coach. He has also been athletic director at Webb since 1995. In 2015, Webb School named its athletics stadium in honor of David Meske for the service he has given to Webb over the years and to recognize the tremendous impact he has had on the lives of Webb students, coaches, colleagues, and other members of the Webb community.
- In 2012, Webb Class of 2002 graduate Davis Tarwater won an Olympic Gold as a member of the United States Olympic swim team following a distinguished collegiate swimming career at University of Michigan where he completed his bachelor’s degree in political science. A three-time NCAA champion and 13-time All-American, Tarwater was U-M’s Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient his senior year, recognizing his success in scholarship and athletics. Tarwater set three Big Ten conference and six school records en route to six conference titles and was named 2006 Michigan Male College Athlete of the Year by the Detroit Athletic Club. The award honors athletic achievement, academics, and community service. He represented the United States in the World Championships three times, winning a gold medal as part of the 2009 4X200-meter freestyle relay team, and he has won three individual and five relay national titles. In 2011, he set an American record in the short course 200-meter butterfly.
Tarwater also holds a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Oxford. He has traveled the globe as a professional speaker, offering inspiration and expertise to audiences ranging from young athletes to corporate executives. Tarwater is co-founder of Gulfstream Capital, LLC. He also serves as co-head coach of Webb’s varsity swimming and diving team.
- George W. Sampson founded Cherokee Distributing Company in 1958. Cherokee Distributing has a long and proud philanthropic history of supporting numerous community organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, Community School of the Arts, Helen Ross McNabb Center, Knox County Public Library, United Way of Greater Knoxville, Alliance for Better Non-Profits, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Knoxville Museum of Art, Pat Summitt Foundation, and Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee; plus many more.
The annual Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony, hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, is among the most prestigious sports recognition ceremonies in the nation and is one of the most highly attended sports hall of fame banquets in the country. Learn more here: https://bgctnv.org/events/2019gkshof/