High School Sports

Belfry’s Haywood first Kentucky football coach to win national high school award

Philip Haywood has led Belfry to four consecutive state football championships.
Philip Haywood has led Belfry to four consecutive state football championships.

Philip Haywood, who led Belfry High School to its fourth consecutive Class 3A state football championship last fall, has been named national football coach of the year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.

The association names national coaches of the year in 16 boys’ and girls’ sports and honored its winners Thursday during a banquet in Peoria, Ill. Haywood became the first coach from Kentucky to win the national honor for football in the 40-year history of the award.

Haywood, Kentucky’s all-time winningest high school football coach with 417 career victories, capped a 14-1 season in 2016 by leading the Pirates to the 3A title. It was Haywood’s sixth state championship overall. Belfry won four playoff games by scores of 50-0, 61-0, 43-12 and 42-17 before defeating Central 52-31 in the state championship game. Belfry became the first school from Eastern Kentucky to win four consecutive state titles.

Haywood, who is 417-129 in 42 seasons as a head coach, was nominated for the award by the state coaches’ association. The selection was based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years, and winning percentage. The National High School Athletic Coaches Association is the oldest coaches association formed by coaches, for coaches, in the nation, and has recognized national coaches of the year since 1978.

Before its recent run, Belfry also won state championships under Haywood in 2003 and 2004.

A Prestonsburg native, Haywood got his start in coaching as a student teacher at Tates Creek in 1972. His first head coaching job was at Prestonsburg, where he spent nine years and reached the state semifinals twice. He has spent the past 33 seasons at Belfry.

Other honors

Billy Lindsey, who works with the football team at Bowling Green High School, was honored by the NHSACA as the national assistant coach of the year for boys’ sports.

Bowling Green won the Class 5A state championship in 2016.

Assumption volleyball’s Ron Kordes and Covington Catholic boys’ soccer’s Jeremy Robertson were finalists for national head coach of the year awards in their respective sports.

Robertson’s CovCath soccer team was state runner-up last fall.

Assumption went 33-6 and lost to eventual state volleyball champion Sacred Heart in the 7th Region finals.