BREAKING NEWS: Hickory head football coach Stone resigns (updated)

Published Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

He guided Red Tornadoes to 15 wins in four

seasons, has 277 victories in 40-year career


A look at the changes in head football coaches at Hickory High – now in the market for a new one — since the late Frank Barger retired after the 1984 season:
Head coach               Years  Final Yr.
Larry Wittenberg          7          1991
Bob Hanna                      2         1993
David Elder                     9         2002
John Worley                    9         2011
Tom Harper                     1         2012
x-Mike Helms                  1+      2013
x-Forrest Blake                1         2013
Allen Wittenberg             2         2016
Russell Stone                     4        2020
Notes: Larry Wittenberg, Allen’s father, is deceased … Hickory’s varsity record over the 36 seasons is 227-197, inclusive of 12 forfeits, two in 1998 and nine in 2011 for eligibility violations… The Red Tornadoes have made the state playoffs 25 times in that span with five league titles and a share of four league titles.
SOURCE: research and files.


HICKORY – Russell Stone will not return for a fifth season as head football coach at Hickory High.

Stone’s Red Tornadoes team went 0-7 in a COVID-shortened spring season, bringing his record at HHS to 15-27.


The coaching change was announced via a press release by the Hickory City Public Schools (HPS) on Wednesday morning.

The press release said Stone, 66, tendered his resignation on Tuesday.

Stone told later Wednesday he’s not yet ready to make additional comments about his resignation.

“Coach Stone loves football and we appreciate his dedication to the sport,” HHS Athletic Director David Craft said in the press release. “We are thankful for his four years of service and helping so many of our young athletes earn scholarships to play football on the next level.

“We wish Coach Stone the very best with his future endeavors.”

The press release said HHS officials will begin an immediate search for a new head football coach.

In the press release, Stone said: “It’s been a fast four seasons and I deeply appreciate my coaching staff and their dedication. I am grateful to HPS Superintendent Dr. Robbie Adell, Coach David Craft (HHS athletic director) and Mrs. Katherine Moringstar (HHS principal) for providing me this great opportunity in Hickory.”

Stone has been a head football coach at eight schools in North Carolina, and his teams are 277-181-5.

He guided Hickory to two state playoff appearances.

“We have had a solid foundation here at Hickory for the future seasons,” Stone said in the press release. “Our junior varsity players were 5-1 with 16 sophomores and four freshmen playing varsity.

“I look forward to watching the bright future of Hickory football and I sincerely thank my players and their families for their hard work and dedication.

“I also want to thank the HHS Athletic Boosters Club and our community for their very generous support.”

Stone was hired by Hickory in 2017 after spending one season at Village Christian, a job he took in 2016 after leaving coaching after the 2013 season.

Stone began his career at since-closed Rowland High, then spent seven seasons as head coach at South Robeson.

He was at Lumberton for three years before moving to West Forsyth, where he stayed 14 years and his teams were 118-53-2.

In 2005, Stone moved to Purnell Swett, staying two years before becoming head coach at Fayetteville Byrd (70-24 in seven seasons).


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