Hayden steps down as Lafayette football coach

mmaloney@herald-leader.comJune 29, 2013 

With players due to report in little more than two weeks, Lafayette is in need of a head football coach.

Carl Hayden, who went 23-14 in three seasons as leader of the Generals, confirmed Saturday that he has taken a job across town at Carter G. Woodson Academy.

"It's always hard to leave something you've been doing for a while, but this is something I need to do to help my family and my career," Hayden said.

"A position came open in Fayette County that was very intriguing, so I went ahead and took the leap."

Hayden and wife Kelley have a 2-year-old daughter, Kennedy Layne, and a month-old son, Carl Davis III.

At Woodson Academy, an all-male school in Lexington for grades 6-10 that opened last year, Hayden will serve as administrative dean.

Hayden, who joined Lafayette as an assistant in 2006, didn't rule out someday returning to the coaching ranks.

"To say no — I'm 30 years old," he said. "I've got my whole life ahead of me. But I don't plan on (coaching) at the moment."

Michael Kinney, Lafayette's athletic director, said a job opening will be posted through July 6. He plans to have a successor named by the time the summer two-week "dead period" ends July 10.

"We could go with an interim, we could stay with someone within the building," Kinney said.

"Hopefully, we're going to get all the major decisions made by the time the dead period's over so that our kids can hit the ground running July 15 for practice."

Hayden said he recommended his successor be assistant head coach Eric Shaw.

"I'd been on paternity leave right before school let out," Hayden said, "and he did a really nice job of keeping things in order."

Kinney said Shaw will be on "a very, very short list of candidates" and called him "as good a football guy as there is. In my opinion, hopefully, he gets it. I think he'll do very good."

Former Boyle County head coach and University of Kentucky assistant Chuck Smith has applied, as have a host of coaches looking to move up from smaller-class schools. Another possibility is former Harrodsburg and UK star Dennis Johnson, who coaches Lafayette "feeder" school Jessie Clark.

Looking back on his time as head coach, Hayden cited two highlights.

"We've been able to get upwards of 40 kids into college to play football in the last three years, which I think is pretty awesome," he said. "Also, I guess, my first year when we won the first playoff game and made it to the regional championship, that was pretty cool. The first time that happened in 25 years. And then it was kind of nice doing it the following year, back-to-back.

"It's been a blessing being able to be a part of Lafayette and the football family. It's been a blast."

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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