It has become one of the more attractive football jobs in the state, yet it took a little while for Havelock High School to find its man as next head football coach.

It isn't because they didn't reach out to the expected big fish hires, not because the program is falling off, but mainly because it's an intimidating, scary undertaking for some coaches.

At a program where a decade or more of winning big is already established, when you as a coach get that chance, you have to capitalize on it.

Since the 2007 season ended, when Jim Bob Bryant was hired, Havelock has gone 145-19, with Bryant going 118-16 in his tenure and King 27-3 in his two years.

There are no 'well, it's your first year so you may struggle and go 6-6' or 'we'll be patient with you,' no - you have to win.

Allen Wooten seems to be up to that challenge and sees the high risk as worth it for the possible high reward.

I agree with him.

I've always been of the mindset that had I chosen to go into teaching/coaching instead of writing that I would always rather have the foundation laid with talent and take my chances than have to start at the ground and build the house out of brick piles, 2x4s and nails.

Wooten will have that talent as he inherits a top player in the state's rankings in Kamarro Edmonds but also will have Kamron Hoover and many other skilled players.

The Rams will have a tough schedule for the new coach to deal with.

I've only spoken to coach Wooten a couple times as I saw his Greene Central teams play against West Craven a couple times in years past.

He did OK at Greene Central, going 39-35, but like most outsiders looking in, he expects and knows he has to raise that 39-35 bar at Havelock.

One thing Havelock does have that has been vital in the success of the program over the past decade and has been a constant no matter whether it was Bryant or King at the helm, is a knowledgeable, dedicated and competitive assistant coaching staff.

Bob Sabdo, Kenny Frazier, Tony Wray, Donnie Richards and Chris Moore have been with the program in some capacity for many combined years and will surround Wooten with an abundance of solid help.

Add in Alex Bell, Deangelo Stewart, Brent Wooten (Allen's twin brother) and Chase Holleman and that staff can cover a lot of parts of a game plan and practice plan.

Havelock brass feels good about the hire and hopes they hit another home run from Greene Central the way they did when they hired Bryant.

Anytime you raise the bar in sports, it always seems toughest to keep it raised.

Teams, players, programs can fall off the pedestal much faster than they can climb it.

"It's a different thing because there I was trying to build a program, here I'll be trying to keep one playing for Eastern finals and state championships," Allen Wooten said.

"I approach it as positive stress - you can't be so afraid to avoid challenging situations."

 

Jordan Honeycutt can be reached at 252-635-5670 or at jordan.honeycutt@newbernsj.com