For the second time in three seasons, Havelock’s Jim Bob Bryant has been named the state high school coach of the year by The Associated Press.
The Rams went 16-0 in the 2013 season and won the state 3A championship with a 21-13 victory over Concord at Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium.
He also won the award in 2011, when the Rams went 16-0 and beat three-time defending state champion West Rowan 38-6 in the state title game.
In the last three seasons, the Rams are 47-1, with that lone loss being by one point to the eventual 4A state champion in New Bern.
“It means a lot to me, but not just because of me,” Bryant said of the honor. “I have some amazing kids that play for me and some awesome assistants that help me every day at Havelock.”
Bryant’s assistant coaches include Caleb King, Kenny Frazier, Matthew Handley and Mitch Williams on defense, and Bob Sabdo, Chris Crowe, Garrett Crowe and Shane Williams on offense.
“That’s the best thing for me and why it is a blessing from the Lord to be able to coach football at Havelock High School – that the kids and assistants buy in and I don’t have to do any kind of micro-managing or worry about the guys being there,” Bryant said. “We all spend long hours at the field and are committed to doing whatever have to do to be at our best on Friday nights.”
Bryant coached at Greene Central before taking over the Havelock program in 2008. He has guided the Rams to five straight eastern regional title games, winning the last three. Bryant has a 79-11 coaching record at Havelock High.
“Building an elite level program takes high-quality coaches and high-quality kids,” Bryant said. “Our kids hang out together. They are brothers. No one sees black, white, Latino or Asian. They just see Havelock football players.”
Bryant said he appreciated the support of Havelock Principal Jeff Murphy, the faculty and staff at the school and the community for supporting the football team.
“I just thank the Lord. He closed a door on me at Greene Central but opened up a great window at Havelock,” he said. “Dr. Murphy has let me hire these great assistants and our administration really supports the program.”
Jordan Honeycutt is a reporter for the Sun Journal.