, Corbin, KY

November 13, 2013

Who will take over Whitley Co. football?

Like It or Not, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — In case you don’t keep up with Tri-County sports on a daily basis, Whitley County’s head football coach for the past eight seasons (Jim Black) tendered his resignation Monday.

Those close to me know my thoughts on coach Black, but I wanted to publicly say thank you for always being so cooperative, no matter what media outlet I was representing.

From the first time I interviewed coach Black (as head coach of Williamsburg then in 2005), I’ve always enjoyed talking to him, especially when he provided me with some good comments.

In addition to talking to coach Black, I’ve also enjoyed doing what I think is a pretty solid impression of him when talking Colonels football. If you’ve never talked to coach Black, imagine a combination of Bruce Willis and Jack Nicholson talking football.

I know I’ve put myself in a position that may force me to demonstrate, but that's alright with me. Am I always spot on? No, but I’ll stand by my Jim Black impression any day.

• Next Colonels coach

With Black’s departure, the rumor mill has been in high gear as far as who will replace him at the helm of the Whitley County football program.

Let me make it clear that I have no idea who the next coach will be and that the following group of names is based solely on my opinion of whom I think would make good candidates for the position or rumors I may have heard in the loop of some of the local sports talk.

Dudley Hilton – This is the first name that seems to pop up with a lot of people. Hilton is the former Bell County coach and current coach at the University of Pikeville. Being in such a position at Pikeville, I’m sure he wouldn’t have any interest in the position, but since nobody else wants to talk about it out loud, I have to. I think Hilton is the kind of coach that has high school football in his blood and with good reason. Hilton is third all time in the state when it comes to wins with 345 (17 wins behind Belfry’s Phillip Haywood) and has won three state titles in his career. I’d be surprised if Hilton shows interest, but then again, maybe I wouldn’t.

Brad Lawson – Lawson, former Corbin Redhound and University of the Cumberlands Patriot, is currently the head coach at Jellico High School and may not even be in the conversation for the job, but I think he should be. Lawson is in his mid-20s, so some may consider him a little young to take over a program like Whitley County, but I’m not one of them.

Bobby Gibbs – As far back as last season I heard Gibbs, an offensive line coach and the team’s offensive coordinator, may be in line to succeed Black as head coach. I don’t know what the criteria will be when the powers that be go looking for a coach, but I would imagine the 2013 season will be something they look at. The fact that Gibbs was in charge of the offense during a 1-10 season may not bode well, but you never know.

David Mitchell – I know this one may surprise a few people, but not me. After leaving (I use that loosely) the Lynn Camp program following 30-plus seasons and taking over as defensive coordinator at Perry County Central, Mitchell has shown he still has some fire in his belly when it comes to coaching. Will coach Mitchell even give the position a second thought? I think he’s crazy if he doesn’t.

So there you have it. A list of four names to think about over the next few weeks. Will one of these four men even apply for the position? Who knows?

Either of the four would be a good fit for the job in my opinion, but then again, we all know what they say about opinions.