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Lamp Post joins Chattanooga Football Club ownership group, Grizzle named GM

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Image via CFC

UPDATE:

Local entrepreneur and Chattanooga Football Club co-founder Sheldon Grizzle has been named the new General Manager for the club. Sheldon became interim GM in late July after the end of the 2018 season. The CFC says Grizzle brings decades of business experience and soccer knowledge both as a high-level player and club director as well as an intrinsic feel for the city that he calls home.

“I’ve been blessed to be a part of the entrepreneurial renaissance in Chattanooga over the last ten years,” said Grizzle. “I love this city and I am passionate about finding creative ways to make it better. I’m excited about this next chapter in helping lead another great local organization.”

Grizzle taking over the reins is just one of many front office changes that the team says it has made in an effort to realign their vision and goals with the core tenets of the club. Recently, Lamp Post announced they were acquiring a stake in Chattanooga Football Club. Several key staff members have assumed larger roles within the company, and the club is preparing to build on its unprecedented success as an amatuer club over the last ten seasons.

“Chattanooga Football Club’s brightest days are ahead of us. We’re asking the question: ‘What would a city-centric organization look like with a 100 year vision?’ The steps we’ve taken over the last ten years and the ones we are deliberately taking now answer that question. There are things that we can and should do that other teams can’t or won’t do. We have no doubt that Chattanoogans will be pleased with the future of Chattanooga Football Club.”

Grizzle is just one of several local entrepreneurs on the board of the club, which also includes Tim Kelly, Paul Rustand, Krue Brock, Daryl Heald, Thomas Clark, and Marshall Brock. It was also recently reported that Lamp Post partner Barry Large is joining the board.

“Sheldon is Chattanooga Football Club, and there’s no one better to run this team at this time in our existence.” said Tim Kelly, Chairman of the Board for the club. “From playing on the inaugural team to managing several successful businesses in town, Sheldon gets it. He shares the vision of the board and is the right guy to take us into the future.”

After helping establish Chattanooga Football Club in 2009, CFC says Sheldon founded several successful organizations, including: CO.LAB, Very, Blank Slate Ventures, and Highland Park Commons. He’s originally from Boca Raton, FL and moved to the Chattanooga area to attend Covenant College where he was an All-American soccer player for two years and finished his career with 54 goals. Sheldon and his wife, Kelly, have lived in Highland Park for 13 years and have three kids.

“We’ve been saying this for years- Chattanooga Football Club is Chattanooga’s football club. We were founded for Chattanoogans by Chattanoogans and that shows by the ways we’ve invested in our community not only through the club but also through CFC Academy, CFC Women, Operation Get Active, CFC Foundation, Chattanooga Sports Ministries, and Highland Park Commons. Soccer is a just tool to improve the lives of the citizens here in Chattanooga. It helps build relationships between diverse cultures in ways that few other things can. We’ve made a significant impact on the city over the last ten years and we are excited to continue laying a solid foundation for the next ninety and beyond.”

PREVIOUSLY:

Lamp Post, a local investment group, has agreed to acquire an ownership position in Chattanooga Football Club (CFC).

Chattanooga Football Club has played in the NPSL, a nationwide semi-pro league, for the past 10 seasons. CFC says after unparalleled success in the NPSL, Chattanooga Football Club’s local ownership group is reviewing a move into a higher league.

“Bringing in Lamp Post is the next step in building a solid foundation for Chattanooga Football Club as we set our sights on the club moving to the next level,” said Tim Kelly, Chairman of Chattanooga Football Club. “Lamp Post and its partners have done so much for Chattanooga and we are pleased they are joining our team at this crucial time.”

Barry Large, a founding partner at Lamp Post Group, will be joining Chattanooga Football Club’s board of directors.

“Lamp Post is all about investing in the future of this great community. Chattanooga Football Club has been a critical part of the ethos of Chattanooga over the past decade,” Large said. “We want to make sure it continues to play this key role, so it’s a no-brainer for us to join the ownership group.”

Large was a cofounder and CFO for Access America as the organization grew to $500 million in revenue over a 12 year period. In 2014, Access America merged with Coyote Logistics, which ultimately sold to UPS in 2015 for upwards of $1.8 billion.

CFC says Lamp Post’s investment in Chattanooga Football Club marks the second time the group has purchased a stake in a local sports team. In 2015, Lamp Post joined Hardball Capital, and other local investors, in acquiring the Chattanooga Lookouts.

“We are honored to have Lamp Post joining the team. Lamp Post’s partners epitomize how Chattanoogans invest in Chattanooga-based businesses and other ventures,” said Sheldon Grizzle, Interim President and General Manager for the club. “We’ve known the Lamp Post team for years and we are so excited about the energy they bring to the table. Everything they have been involved with in town is better because of it. They will make a difference.”

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