High School Football

Northwestern’s football coach search is underway

Northwestern athletics director Lauren West has the unenviable job of helping find a replacement for departed football coach Kyle Richardson. The way Richardson left the program should make the transition easier on the next coach.

“There is nothing broken,” West said Friday. “Kyle did a lot of great things. In my opinion, the best thing that Kyle did for Northwestern football was he put systems, and people in place in those systems, to be successful. Those systems are still here; those people he put in place are still here.”

The school posted the job late last week on the Rock Hill School District Three web site. West said the next Trojans’ coach will need to be certified to teach on campus.

The job posting was pretty dry. Among the desired attributes:

▪ Five years of head coaching experience would be preferred.

▪ A willingness to work with other teachers to promote interdisciplinary studies.

▪ Experience working with high school students preferred.

▪ Extensive knowledge of interscholastic athletic policies/regulations.

Spring Break begins next Monday for District Three and the job will be kept open through the week.

West said she hopes to begin whittling the field of candidates down the Monday after the weeklong break ends, April 11. She couldn’t offer any information on who has applied; applications are going to the district office and West hasn’t been over there to look yet.

Northwestern has no wiggle room in compensation. Salaries in District Three are based on teacher pay, the extended days (coaches get paid for summer work), and stipends. The salaries are not negotiable, according to West.

West said that Northwestern administrators don’t reach out to potential candidates outside of the school. She did encourage coaches already on staff to apply for the job.

Northwestern will likely get applications from some of its assistant coaches. Longtime defensive coach David Pierce and defensive coordinator James Martin - who has head coaching experience at South Meck - would be logical guesses. During six years as the head man at South Meck, Martin was 26-46, taking his 2008 team to the N.C. 4A Regional Finals.

Beyond the basic qualifications, West wants “Somebody that understands our tradition, our culture, understands what it takes to prepare to compete in the schedule we play.”

Richardson, who took an offensive assistant coaching position at Clemson two weeks ago, was 58-13 during his five seasons in charge of the Trojans, winning two state title games and appearing in a third. The second of those two championships came in December when the 14-1 Trojans won 4A Division II with a 63-13 blowout of Lexington.

Whoever gets the job will need to have a plan for success in Year 2. Richardson left the pantry very full for the 2016 season with five high-major Division I prospects among the returning players and the Trojans will likely be a preseason state championship favorite in the new 5A classification, along with defending Big 16 champs Fort Dorchester.

“Somebody’s being handed the keys to the Ferrari, right?” said West. “That program is clicking as well now as I’ve ever seen a program click. Somebody coming in has got a pot of gold waiting on them.”

Bret McCormick: 803-329-4032, @RHHerald_Preps