Friday, November 20, 2009

Woolbright resigns as Ardrey Kell football coach

Ardrey Kell football coach Marty Woolbright, 58, has resigned as the school’s football coach.

He said he told Knights principal Harrison Peters about his decision in August, before the season started. Peters was out of the office and unavailable Friday.

Woolbright said he was wanting to free time to pursue his hobbies and spend time with his family. He has seven grandchildren.

“I’ve been a head coach for a long time and when I came here I was hoping to do it for five years and make sure I got this first ninth grade class through,” he said. “They’ve had the same coach for four years now and it’s been a lot of hard work and responsibility. I just want to step back now and be an assistant for a few more years and then fully retire.”

Woolbright has taught for 35 years and coached for 30. He’s coached at six schools and was head coach at five, including Clover (S.C.) High, where he was coaching prior to coming to Ardrey Kell. Woolbright still lives in Clover.

His first Ardrey Kell team, in 2006, finished 1-9. The 2007 team won its first four games, reached the second round of the playoffs and finished 8-5.

In 2008, the Knights were 5-6. They were 3-7 this season.

Woolbright said his successor will have a good nucleus of players. The team’s junior varsity was 6-4, its first winning record, and the varsity returns four starters on offense, including tailback Justus Pickett, who has offers from Stanford and Vanderbilt, and tight end Drew Owens, who has 10 Division I offers. The Knights return five starters on defense.

Woolbright said only five of the school’s seven coaches work on campus, which can create increased workloads at times, especially in the offseason. That extra work, he said, was starting to wear on him.

“Ardrey Kell has great kids,” Woolbright said. “I think they need somebody young with a lot of energy. The program is solid. I’ve just been doing this a long time. And for us, with our staffing situation, it gets to be a year-round process. We’ve got to do all the little things to try to be competitive. It’s a lot of work and responsibility and I want to free (myself up) from some of that.”

Woolbright is the second area coach to step down this week.

First-year Mooresville coach Steve McCurry resigned Thursday after his team finished 0-11. Mooresville principal Todd Wirt said, in a press release, that McCury's resignation was for personal reasons.

- Langston Wertz Jr.