For anyone who’s ever met Graham Clarke, you know you’re in the presence of an inspiring man that has empowered many of Kingsport’s youth as coach of the Dobyns-Bennett Indians Football team.

Did you know that Graham also sings a mean James Brown and is now a local television star in a new commercial with Diane Hills?

I met Graham Clarke many years ago at Indian Springs Christian Church. As a musician in this little church band, we shared plenty of time with Graham and Marissa who sang in the choir every Sunday.

It was during our rehearsals that the band would swerve off into some James Brown or other classic soul song that Graham would pick up the microphone and without hesitation or lack of confidence – sing..”I feel good.”

At the downtown July 4th festivities, it was a thrill for me to see Graham along with his successful brother Sheldon Clarke performing in a band called “Full Circle.” They had the opening slot for Southern Culture on The Skids and blew me away opening the show with an old Steely Dan song called ‘Black Friday.’

He was just a singer in the church choir to me. But most people who describe Coach Clark immediately recognize that his ego is that of a servant and he rarely exceeds any attitude meter. His graceful Southern charm is amplified by joy exhibited by his wife Marissa whose smile could light up the darkest of days.

Of course, my mother who worked at DB for twenty years knew Clarke like no other and confirmed all that I knew already, but underneath it, he’s one of the most successful and inspiring football coaches to ever hold tenure at Dobyns-Bennett High School.

Admittedly, I don’t know much about football, but the music is awfully familiar to me and I was surprised recently when our guys at the office said Coach Clarke had agreed to appear in a video for our client Diane Hills.

Diane is a radiant soul who is a successful broker for Town and Country Realty and we had been exploring ideas for a creative television commercial to air on our newspaper websites as well as Diane’s own personal web site.

Diane is good friends with Graham and Marissa and staged this commercial at a fine home in Kingsport.

Coach Clarke is seen in the opening describing what kind of house he is looking for.

“Big…Real Big!”

Immediately the camera cuts to DB football players doing springs up and down the stairs to Coach Clarke’s whistle, mowing the yard, bringing the coffee and gathered around the table having a cup of “Wildcat Stew.”

This new work is exciting and our team deserves recognition for a job well done. Special thanks to Diane, Graham and Marissa, plus all the players at DB who took time from their schedule to produce such an entertaining commercial.

I’m certain that the best is yet to come for all of these talented Kingsport natives.