Commonwealth Journal

Features

December 30, 2011

It's Official

Andy Stephens named Warrior's head football coach

Somerset — Andy Stephens can now call himself the Southwestern head football coach without ‘interim’ being in front of it.

After being hired as the new Southwestern Warriors football coach yesterday, Stephens can now remove the ‘interim’ tag from his name.

“I'm excited for the opportunity,” began Stephens, who becomes only the second coach in Southwestern High School football program history. “I feel like we have a great program and a great school. Anytime you have that many positives around you I think you have an opportunity to be successful.”   

Stephens, who spent ten seasons coaching at Casey County High School, led Southwestern to their best season in school history this past fall. Stephens took over the head coaching duties midway through the season after the sudden resignation of long-time coach Dale Anderson.

The former Casey County coach took over in September with a struggling Warrior squad sitting at a losing 1-3 record, and then transformed them into one of the top teams in the state of Kentucky. Stephens led the Warriors to a nine-game winning streak  and a regional crown before falling to Anderson County last Friday night in the state semifinals of the Class 5A State Playoffs.

Prior to coming to Southwestern, Stephens started his coaching career at his alma mater Casey County High School, which had only one winning season during the football program’s existence. During his 10 seasons as the head coach at Casey County, Stephens coached longer and won more games than any coach before him.

Stephens’ teams went 35-71 during those 10 seasons at Casey County. In 2010 under Stephens, the Rebels enjoyed their best season in the program’s 36-year history with a  8-4 record. Also that season, the Rebels were runners-up in their Class AAA district and earned the school’s first playoff victory.

This past fall in three short months, Stephens duplicated his recording-setting accomplishments with the  Southwestern High School football program.

“This season really let me enjoy coaching,” explained the newly-named Warrior head coach. “I felt like the kids grew through the adversity. I felt like they responded to everything we asked. I was very happy for our seniors, as many of them had been playing since they were freshman on varsity and had paid there dues to be successful. I felt like we got better each week and that is a testament to their work ethic.”

“I really appreciated the coaches rallying around me and the boys and going right to work to make this a great season," continued Stephens. "Things could have went bad for us, but did not because of the strength of our seniors and our coaches.”

In the 2011 season, the Warriors finished with a overall record of 10-4, while going 9-1 under Stephens. The ‘Blue and Orange’ won their first district title since 2006 and won their first region title in school history with a 28-21 victory over highly-touted Harlan County. More importantly, Stephens brought back Warrior pride, which was something that had been lacking in the program for quite some time.

First-year Southwestern High School principal Danita Ellis is more than happy with the hiring of Stephens.

“I am very excited to have Coach Stephens,” stated Ellis. “He is a very positive role model and leader for our students in the classroom and on the field.”

“I think he had an excellent season. He’s taken Southwestern farther than they’ve ever been before. I am very excited because I think he will do great things at Southwestern.”

Southwestern High School athletic director Scott Gregory looks for positive changes and future success in the gridiron program under Stephens.

“I'm very proud of Coach Stephens and his staff for the accomplishments with the team, it was a great ride for the players and the school this season,” stated Gregory. “He has a great work ethic, and he knows X's and O's, and I'm very excited for him and the future of our program. Coach Stephens has a positive impact on those around him, and hard work will guide his players and program.”

When asked about the plan for the Warrior coaching staff for 2012, Stephens stated, “That’s not something that we’re able to discuss at this time.”

Stephens wants to take the Warrior program to new heights and make it one known throughout the state of Kentucky.

“I’m looking forward to getting started in the weight room with our winter work out and agility work,” Stephens stated. “We’re going to work our halls to try to get some kids back out and do what we can do to improve on last year’s season. I feel like we have an opportunity to be successful. I want to continue to build our program and make it one respected across the state.”

If the 2011 season is any indication for things to come, Stephens and the Warriors will be making name a name for themselves throughout the Bluegrass State.

 

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