HAVELOCK - As the news broke Wednesday of Havelock High School head football coach Caleb King leaving to take a head coach job in South Carolina, reactions poured in from his now-former players and folks in the Havelock community.
Senior offensive lineman Nishad Strother, who is committed to play in college at ECU, said "Great coach, better man. Blessed to be coached by the best the past 2 years," via his Twitter account.
Strother started on the O-line for King the past two seasons.
Sophomore standout running back Kamarro Edmonds, who will be one of the more talented players returning to Havelock next season, said much of the same via his Twitter.
"Man this hurts! You taught me a lot, you're a great coach, thanks 4 everything you've done for me and my family, love you coach."
Another former player, senior linebacker Josh Williams, who played for King at East Carteret and Havelock, seemed to understand the reasoning behind King's move.
"Big moves, can't be mad at someone for bettering themselves, best coach in NC and soon to be SC," Williams said.
One thing that King will leave with is how good he is at getting attention to his players.
Seemingly every year, Havelock has five or more kids getting college attention with some sort of college coach stopping by practice on an almost daily basis.
King forged strong bonds with many college coaches across the state and beyond leading to many of his players getting chances to play in college.
It wasn't just football players that were speaking out.
Janie McIver, Havelock resident and mother of kids who went to Havelock said, "A coach like none other, he will be missed."
Former Havelock defensive lineman Kendal Vickers, now in the NFL, had nothing but loving words to say about his former coach.
"I'm happy for him, he deserves it, the opportunity to grow as a coach and leader," Vickers said.
"He knows that I'll support him 100 percent either way and he did all he could to help us on and off the field."
King said he felt touched by all the reactions and support he's received.
"It's back to the relationships we talked about and it's just nice to hear from guys who know me so well," he said.
"They all know my wife, my kids so well. We're looking at the move and everything as an adventure and trying to be excited about it."
Havelock Athletics Director Tameka Wiggins said it was a surprise a bit to her.
"I just know how much he loves it here but I do understand wanting to take care of his family," Wiggins said.
As far as King's successor in Havelock, Wiggins knows Havelock High principal Dr. Jeff Murphy and herself are in for busy times.
"We're opening it up to everyone but we haven't really began it yet," she said.
"With our tradition, we want to bring someone in that is going to keep that going and we know we are going to be flooded with applications."
The Sun Journal will have more on this story as it develops.
Jordan Honeycutt can be reached at 252-635-5670 or at firstname.lastname@example.org