Sparks’ milestones have come near and far as Eagles’ head coach goes for No. 300 on Saturday

Sparks’ milestones have come near and far as Eagles’ head coach goes for No. 300 on Saturday

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks (299-79-2) will try to become only the 12th coach in college football history to win 300 career games.

Carson-Newman (5-5, 3-3 SAC) faces No. 23 Mars Hill College (7-2, 5-1 SAC) in its regular season finale at Meares Stadium at 1 p.m. in Mars Hill, N.C.

Some of Sparks' milestone wins have been common enough, like the Eagles rushing for a typical 315 yards and building an early 21-0 lead to get Sparks to No. 100 against Gardner-Webb in a South Atlantic Conference win in 1990.

Others have been genuinely bizarre, like an almost two-day trek to the Pacific Coast to face Western Oregon in non-conference play in 2000. The Eagles played on only a few hours sleep, but gave Sparks his 200th career win over 2,700 miles from Mossy Creek.

Below is a look at some of the milestone wins during Ken Sparks' 32 seasons at C-N.

Ken Sparks Milestone Wins

Win No. 1

September 13, 1980

Carson-Newman 30 – Central Florida 21

Ken Sparks won his debut as the Eagles' head coach as C-N beat Central Florida in the then-Tangerine Bowl Stadium (eventually would be known as Citrus). Van Williams would rush for 217 yards on 29 carries in the win. C-N would go 7-3 in Sparks' first season, its best record since 1972. Sparks original staff included current offensive coordinator Mike Turner, defensive coordinator Jim Deaton, Bill Mitchell, and Mike Whitley. All five would spend at least seasons on Sparks' staff.


Win No. 100

October 20, 1990

Carson-Newman 48, Gardner-Webb 23

C-N roared to a 21-0 first half lead and rushed for 315 yards in the games the Eagles beat the Bulldogs and give Sparks his 100th career win. He was 100-29-1 in reaching 100-win plateau. The win made the Eagles 7-0 on the season. C-N finished the year 10-1 and lost in the national semifinals.


Win No. 200

September 21, 2000

Carson-Newman 24 - Western Oregon 6

The Eagles played took the longest road trip in school history and earned a 24-6 win over Western Oregon just outside of the Portland area. The Eagles intercepted Drew Bledsoe's younger brother Adam five times and rushed for 285 yards and shutout the Wolves 17-0 in the second half in the win. Carson-Newman endured a canceled flight to Portland and a six-hour layover in Cincinnati to arrive in Oregon 32 hours after leaving Jefferson City. The team held its walk-thru at the end of a terminal in the Cincinnati airport, and arrived at the team hotel 10 hours before kickoff. C-N would finish the year 8-2 with two road losses by a total of six points.


Win No. 250

October 27, 2005

Carson-Newman 33 - Catawba 21

The Eagles rushed for 327 yards on 57 carries and intercepted three passes to give Sparks his 250th career win. C-N held the ball for 34 minutes in the game. The game was telecast regionally on CSS and was the second game ever played in the new Burke-Tarr Stadium. The Eagles would finish the season 8-2.