By CHRIS HOBBS
NEWTON – Steven Pack, head football coach last season at North Lincoln High, is the next head football coach at Newton-Conover.
A teaching contract for Pack — whose previous coaching experience includes working as an assistant to Matt Beam at Newton-Conover and before that at Burns – was approved by the Newton-Conover City Schools Board of Education at its meeting on Monday.
The confirmation of Pack’s hire as a faculty member came Monday night via an email from Dr. David Stegall, superintendent of the NCCS.
School system boards approve only employment contracts, and coaching assignments are then made by school principals.
Pack was not available for comment.
The Red Devils completed a change in head football coaches in about two weeks.
When Beam resigned in early May, saying he would enter private business in Lincolnton after four seasons with the Red Devils, assistant coach Darren Ponder was announced as the interim head coach.
Three days later, Ponder decided against taking the job – he has since applied an interviewed for a coaching job elsewhere – and Newton-Conover re-started its search and interviewed at least five candidates in the middle of last week.
Pack’s debut is Aug. 17 against Bunker Hill, and the Red Devils are coming off a 9-4 record (6-1 South Fork 2A, second place).
Pack came to North Lincoln last season for this first head-coaching position, replacing retiring David Maness (five seasons, 17-38 record).
The Knights went 2-9 last season, including 1-6 in the South Fork 2A, and finished in seventh place. Their wins were 47-6 in a season-opener against the Carolina Wildcats and 55-7 at Lake Norman Charter.
Pack, who played college football at Appalachian State and Mars Hill, has been an offensive-minded assistant coach during tenures at Burns, North Lincoln, Newton-Conover and again at Burns.
He was on Beam’s staff at Burns and Newton-Conover and went back to Burns as offensive coordinator under David Devine. He’s also been on the coaching staffs of Ron Greene at Burns and Bruce Ollis at Polk County.
“I’ve worked with great coaches … and I’ve tried to take in the good and the bad from all of those guys,” Pack told The Denver Weekly in an interview in January 2017. “Through the years, I’ve developed my own philosophy and my own way of thinking how things should be done.”
North Lincoln went 2-9 in 2016 and scored 163 points. Last season, the Knights averaged 34 points per game and scored 40 or more in five games that included a 53-50 loss to close the season at Bandys.
Pack had the South Fork 2A’s sixth-leading rusher last season, Clayton Cribbs (162-1,080 yards, 14 TDs), its leading passer in Reed McRorie (149-251-9 for 2,343 yards, 27 TDs) and four wide receivers in the top 10 – Caleb Holley (47-7904, 9 TDs, second); Daekwon Camp (40-616, 7, fourth) and Zach Rhodes (34-552, 8, sixth and Jake Soorus (20-344, 1, 10th).