Dudley Hilton is returning to high school football as coach at Taylor County, starting this week.
Hilton, who resigned as University of Pikeville's coach in early August for personal and health reasons, will take over at Taylor County, which needed a coach after Eric Graves stepped down last week. Graves was in his fourth year with the Cardinals, but resigned for health reasons.
Taylor County, which lost its first three games this season, doesn't play this week. It's at home against LaRue County on Sept. 19.
Hilton said Taylor County superintendent Roger Cook called to see if he'd be interested in coaching the Cards.
"I thought, what the heck, I'm just sitting around here, I might as well go try it," Hilton said Monday morning. "Like the guy in that movie (The Shawshank Redemption) said, you gotta start living or start dying. I'm excited about seeing if I can do any good with those kids at Taylor County."
Hilton, 66, said his commitment to Taylor County is for the rest of this season. "I'm going there on a trial basis for them, and for me, too," he said. "Beyond that, I really don't know what the future has in store."
Hilton won 345 high school games in 36 years, most of them at Bell County, before he left the Bobcats to give college coaching a try at UPike. He had a 14-16 record in three seasons with the Bears, including a 7-4 mark last year. He also got to coach his son, John Dudley, who's in his senior season at UPike.
"I'll still get there to watch him play on Saturdays," Hilton said.
Hilton, who won three state titles on the high school level (at Bell County in 1991 and 2008, and Bourbon County in 1997), said college coaching was a different experience.
He said his main job at UPike was "more like running a business" and overseeing the program while offensive coordinator Al Holland and defensive coordinator Brian Williams "worked their magic. But none of the magic was Dudley Hilton's.
"Now I'm going back to high school ball where I'll go back to calling my plays, my defense, my whole system."
Hilton said he enjoyed his time at UPike, "and I think I made a mark there."