Longtime Belfry head football coach Philip Haywood is in the top 25 of all-time winningest coaches in the United States.
Many already know that Haywood is the leader in the state of Kentucky for most career wins, but a high school sports internet site, Max Preps, recently listed the top 25 coaches in American with the most wins.
Haywood came in at number 20 on that list. He is up to 361 career wins, most of them came at Belfry. He started his career at his alma mater at Prestonsburg, where he won 72 games.
Then he came to Belfry back in 1984, where he has won the rest of his total. He also has two state championships on his resume and several state-runner-up finishes while coaching the Pirates.
Starting his 39th season as a head coach, Haywood’s numbers are staggering. His teams have won 362 times with just 125 losses, including a record of 290-93 at Belfry. He spent seven seasons at Prestonsburg and finished 72-32 before coming to Pond Creek.
Still, Haywood is modest when asked about the elite list.
“That is pretty amazing that I’m on any kind of list,” Haywood said. “There are a lot of great coaches and programs out there.”
“I can think of one that is now retired. Bob Lutz up there at Ironton (Ohio) and they used to beat us all the time,” Haywood added. “He is not on the list because he is retired now.”
“It is an honor to be in that kind of company – but it is more about our program,” a modest Haywood said. “We have had a lot of great players over the years that have contributed to these wins. I’ll be the first to say that I’ve never made a tackle or never made a touchdown.”
“We try to point them in the right direction. But players play the game,” Haywood continued.
Haywood stressed “we” because he praised his assistants.
“I think we have as fine a coaching staff of anywhere in the state,” Haywood said proudly. “These guys do a great job of teaching our players how to play the game and how to live.”
“I’ve been very blessed to have all of these components – which have led to my so-called record,” Haywood concluded. “It’s not about me, but more about the program itself. It’s about the players, the coaches and our community. It all goes together.”
Note: The Belfry High School 2003 Class AA State Championship football team will be recognized at the Belfry vs. Lawrence County game on October 18. There will be a reception for all members of the team prior to the game in the cafeteria at 6:00 p.m. Introductions will be made during halftime. All members are encouraged to spread the word to their teammates. For additional information call Coach Haywood or Coach Anthony Tackett at 606-237-3900.