Carroll County High School’s search for a new varsity football coach will start soon.
The Cavaliers’ football program is looking for a new head coach after Tom Hale announced he was stepping down after 15 seasons following Carroll County’s 77-28 victory over Patrick County on Nov. 8. CCHS Principal Chuck Thompson said the school would like to move fairly quickly on the search, although the school is willing to take its time to find the right coach.
“Once we make everything official, we will advertise the position and try to get somebody in here as quickly as we can. We are just looking for the right candidate to move us forward,” Thompson said. “We are going to open up the interviews to candidates both inside and outside the program. There is no preference.”
Thompson said he would make the final decision on the new football coach, but that he will be seeking input from others inside the Carroll County Public School System. He said Hale informed him of the decision to step down two days before the Patrick County game, so there hasn’t been a lot of time yet to start focusing on potential candidates for the head coaching job. Ideally, Thompson would like to have a new football coach in place sooner rather than later.
“It just depends on the circumstance. If there was a teaching spot to open up, that would certainly give the football coach the spring semester and summer to come in and do things their way and start building a program instead of waiting until the summer, but it remains to be seen if we will even have an open (teaching) position,” Thompson said. “We are just trying to feel our way through this because it is still football season and some people are still coaching.”
Regardless of who takes over the program, Thompson said Hale’s successor will have big shoes to fill. During his tenure, Hale guided the Cavaliers to five of the eight best seasons in school history. His 2003 team won a school record 10 games en route to the Region IV, Division IV semifinal. His 2010 team won eight games, third best in school history. Hale’s teams also won seven games three times – in 1999, 2000 and 2005. To put that in perspective, in the 29 years prior to Hale’s arrival in Hillsville, the Cavaliers only won seven games or more three times in the school’s history (winning nine games in 1997 and seven games in both 1977 and 1990). Hale also led the Cavaliers to seven of the 12 playoff appearances in school history, including both of Carroll County’s playoff victories (against Abingdon in 2003 and Bassett in 2010).
“I thought he was loyal to the school and to football. He put in a tremendous amount of time that lots of people won’t see - not only the practice time, but the film session time, field maintenance time, lining off the football field, getting things ready for Friday night, laundry nobody ever sees,” Thompson said. “I thought he and the coaching staff were very unified this year and he felt like it was time for somebody else to come in and lead the program. I wish him nothing but the best. What I told the team the other night was that Tom Hale was a good and decent human being as well as a good football coach. I think he is like any good competitor in that the pain from losing outweighed the enjoyment of winning. He is a good guy and I know he put a lot of thought into this.”