By STEVE CORNELIUS, CJ Sports Editor
After only 2 1/2 years at the helm of the Southwestern High School football program, Andy Stephens has resigned his position.
On Monday afternoon, Stephens turned in his resignation and told his players he would be stepping down from his coaching position.
Stephens won his first 9 games in a row as the Warriors’ new head football coach during the season of 2011, and led Southwestern to program’s first regional title. Stephens led his team to wins over Madison Southern, Pulaski County, Whitley County and Harlan County during that 9-game win streak in 2011.
After the winning both a district title and a regional title in 2011 at Southwestern, Stephens was named the Commonwealth Journal Coach of the Year.
However, the Warriors have struggled under Stephens’ leadership in his last two seasons with records of 3-7 and 1-9.
And while the Warriors ended this past season with a dismal 1-9 record, they were within one score of 4 of their 9 losses
Prior to coaching at Southwestern, Stephens coach at Casey County High School for 10 seasons and led the Rebels to their best season in 25 years with a 8-4 record in 2010. Stephens also led the Rebels to a runners-up title in their Class AAA district and earned the Rebels program first playoff victory.
Stephens joined the Warriors’ coaching season, as a special teams coach, at the beginning of the 2011 season. However, he was abruptly promoted to head coach, after longtime veteran coach Dale Anderson resigned in the middle of the season. Up until then, Anderson was the program’s only head football coach. Anderson had coached at Southwestern for 18-plus season.
In 2001, Stephens came back to his alma mater Casey County High School to take over a football program that boasted only one winning season during its 25 years of existence.
Stephens’ teams went 35-71 in his 10 seasons at Casey, and the Warriors were 13-17 under Stephens – for a combined prep coaching career record of 48-88.
Including his two years as an assistant coach, Stephens has been on the Casey staff for each of the school’s three winning seasons and six playoff appearances.
Stephens was at the forefront of improvements to the field and fieldmouse and to the middle school and youth programs while at Casey County. Likewise, Stephens spearheaded a total renovation of the Warriors’ football fieldhouse soon after he took over that program.
Southwestern will be seeking only their third football coach in the school’s 20 years of existences.
According to Southwestern High School principal Danita Ellis, the search for a new football coach will begin this week.