HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Will Hickory name head coach on Tuesday night? (updated)

Published Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Board approval of teaching contract

is first step in replacing Russell Stone


Editor’s note: Since this story was first posted, the number of years the candidate had been a head coach was corrected to nine. HobbsDailyReport.com regrets the error.



HICKORY – The hiring of the next Hickory High head football coach is still expected to come on Tuesday night.

A Hickory Public Schools Board of Education meeting, originally scheduled for Monday, is at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Sources told HobbsDailyReport.com a candidate’s name will be among those considered for an open job when the board goes into executive session.

Multiple sources have told HobbsDailyReport.com the name of the coach Hickory High wants as the replacement for Russell Stone, who in April was told to resign or be fired (he resigned).

HobbsDailyReport.com has not published the candidate’s name in order to respect the coach’s privacy should he not be approved or HPS and/or the candidate were not to reach agreement in order for a request for a teaching contract to actually go to the board.

A source said on Tuesday morning a Meet and Greet for the new head coach is being coordinated for 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

HobbsDailyReport.com contacted the school system, asking officials to confirm or deny a Meet and Greet is planned but has received no response as of 12:30 p.m.

Multiple sources say up to eight coaches were interviewed in the coaching search, that none had second interviews, and the list was trimmed to three.

HobbsDailyReport.com contacted all three coaches those sources indicated were in the running. One declined comment and the other two did not return phone messages that included a reason for the call and request for a return call.

The candidate the HobbsDailyReport.com sources say is Hickory’s final choice has been a head coach at four other schools over a nine-year span that began in 2012. He has also been an assistant coach at four other schools in the area during his career.

Although HobbsDailyReport.com knows the complete background of the candidate, it has not published his name or anything that would reveal where he is currently coaching.

When contacted, the final candidate has declined comment. He was not asked to confirm or deny what sources say about the open position for HHS football.

The school board’s role in the hiring of coaches is to review and approve or deny a teaching (or other) contract with the school system. Once the candidate is assigned to a school, the principal at that school decides who will coach what teams.

Once a hiring decision is made, it becomes a matter of public record because the school system is paying those contracts with taxpayers’ money. (Note: Any individual can request information on public school expenditures… that is not limited to media requests).

Replying to a request for a list of hires made (or if made) by the board on Tuesday when the meeting is completed, an HPS official on Monday said the school system would provide details/a list of hires in a timeframe of 24 to 48 hours after the board meeting ends.

HobbsDailyReport.com has tried three times to interview or touch base with HHS principal Rebecca Tuttle about the open football position, twice by leaving a voice mail message asking for a return call and via an e-mail asking if she had an opening to discuss HHS football by phone or via an exchange of e-mails. As of Monday night, there was no response.

Whomever the next hire is, he will be the 10th head football coach at HHS since the late Frank Barger retired (1953-1984) after the 1984 season.

Prior to Stone, head coaches of the Red Tornadoes include: the late Larry Wittenberg, Bob Hanna, David Elder, John Worley, Tom Harper, Mike Helms and Allen Wittenberg, Larry’s son.

Forrest Blake also served as head coach in the latter part of the 2014 season when Helms was removed as head coach.

Last season, the Red Tornadoes were 0-6 in the Northwestern 3A-4A, finishing seventh, and they went 0-7 overall.

Hickory was 15-27 under Stone.


STONE RESIGNS: https://hobbsdailyreport.com/hickory-high/breaking-news-hickory-head-football-coach-stone-resigns/

RED TORNADOES HIRE STONE: http://www.hickoryschools.net/departments/communications/what_s_new__/h_p_s_announces_stone_as_new_head_football_coach

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