High School Football

Program on its way to 6A taps rising Lexington football coach as new leader

Ethan Atchley is leaving Lexington Christian Academy after five seasons to become head coach at Bullitt East.
Ethan Atchley is leaving Lexington Christian Academy after five seasons to become head coach at Bullitt East.

Bullitt East High School has named Ethan Atchley as its new head football coach.

The BE Livewire — Bullitt East’s student news outlet — first reported Atchley’s hiring. Atchley was the head coach at Lexington Christian Academy from 2014-2018 after serving as an assistant at Lafayette. He guided the Eagles to a 46-18 record and four consecutive appearances in the region finals from 2015-2018. Atchley in 2017 coached LCA to its first win against Lexington Catholic.

“(Leaving) isn’t what anybody enjoys to do, but it’s a part of it and change is the only inevitable in this world,” Atchley told the Herald-Leader. “(Athletic Director) Terry (Johnson) has been awesome. The school’s been good and it’s a good place.”

Bullitt East, a Class 5A program that will move up to Class 6A beginning with the 2019 season, went 3-8 and lost in the first round of the playoffs this past season. The Chargers have not had a winning season since 2014, when they finished 7-4.

The school’s new district will consist of reigning Class 6A state champion Male, Southern and Fern Creek — which in recent years made deep runs in Class 5A. Atchley is excited for and feels prepared for the challenge after going toe-to-toe with Danville and Somerset in Class 2A in recent seasons.

“I’ve been forced to play in one of the toughest districts and we haven’t backed down from it,” Atchley said. “We’ve won it, we’ve come close to (state) and it is what it is. I’m not afraid to go play people.”

Atchley has been approached for several jobs in recent seasons, including his alma mater in Cleveland. Bullitt East — whose principal, Chris Mason, won seven state championships as an assistant at Boyle County — has all the factors necessary to become a program with which to be reckoned.

“It’s gonna be second-to-none (in terms of administrative support),” Atchley said. “It’s a good academic school. It’ll be given time but the young crop of talent is similar to the situation I walked into (at LCA). But there’s also talent among the older ones that are fully capable of buying in and learning. ... It’s just a place, in my opinion, that’s untapped.”