BELFRY, Ky. – For the third time in his long and storied career Belfry head football coach Philip Haywood has been voted as Coach of the Year by the Louisville Courier Journal (LCJ).
Haywood led Belfry to another fine season with a record of 12-3 and averaging almost 39 points per game. Their patented ground game averaged 322 rushing yards per contest.
Haywood was named as Co-coach of the Year in 2011 with Trinity’s Bob Beatty and also won the award back in 2003.
The coach with the most wins in the history of Kentucky prep football was quick to give credit to his assistant coaching staff.
Haywood credited co-defensive coordinators Matt Varney and Todd Cassell and co-offensive coordinator Anthony Tackett with helping the Pirates get the most out of their talent. He also praised other dedicated members of his staff. Many of them are his former players.
Last year his squad lost another heartbreaker in the Class 3-A championship game to Louisville Central 12-6 in overtime. The year before they were edged 15-14 on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 2:01 remaining.
“No, it doesn’t get easier,” said Haywood, talking about the losses to Central. “Not only were our kids and staff devastated, I was devastated too. I remember talking to the media after the game, and most times I’m good at answering their questions. But I didn’t know what to say. We weren’t planning on losing.”
Haywood has coached 38 years. The 61-year-old Belfry coach has a career record of 362-124. He coached nine seasons at Prestonsburg (1975-83) before taking the Belfry job in 1984. He’s led the Pirates to eight state finals, winning a pair of state titles.
“I don’t feel like we failed this year,” Haywood told the LCJ. “The one thing we always set out to do is to play our best game in the last game of the season. I really believe we did that. We could play it again and flip a coin, and maybe it would have been us that won in overtime.”
“The thing that impressed me the most out of this group was they really played hard,” Haywood said. “They were always physical … and rarely said much on the field. The rest of the time they just played. I kind of appreciated that.”
Haywood doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon.
“I’m good for another year,” he concluded. “God has really blessed me. As long as I have good health and feel like I’m still making a contribution, I feel like this is what He wants me