Good luck Coach Hoggard

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 14, 2006

R-C News-Herald Editorial

The worst kept secret in North Carolina High School Athletic Association football was revealed publicly Friday.

During a press conference at Bertie High School, Tony Hoggard was officially introduced as head football coach. He takes over for the retiring Willie Roberson.

Since the day Hoggard arrived back on the Bertie campus more than 10 years ago it has been widely known that one day he would be the school’s head coach. He was a star at Bertie in his playing days, went to Carolina and played four years and then returned home to coach at his alma mater.

During his tenure as an assistant football coach, the Falcons have won two NCHSAA state football championships, more than half a dozen conference championships and have made seven state playoff appearances in a row.

During that time, Hoggard has been one of the best assistant coaches in the state. He has been widely recognized as an up-and-comer in the coaching ranks. His name has been mentioned for more than one coaching vacancy in the past several years.

While he could have gone on and made his mark elsewhere, Hoggard wanted to be the coach at his alma mater. He wanted to help guide Bertie High School.

The Falcon faithful are fortunate that he did.

As the next few years develop, the Falcons have an excellent opportunity to return to their once dominant form. There is a nucleus of young talent on the squad and they have potential.

Where Hoggard is different from his predecessors is in discipline. While not allowing things to get out of hand neither Roberson nor Roy Bond were known as disciplinarians. Hoggard is.

Another difference is his age. Both Bond and Roberson were nearing the end of 30 years in the coaching business when they were selected to lead the Falcons. Hoggard hasn’t yet reached his 40th birthday, meaning he will have plenty of time to get the team where he wants them.

Where Hoggard is similar to those who precede him is that he has a long football pedigree. He knows the Falcons, he knows the high school and he knows the kids who will be playing for him.

Hoggard didn’t come here from places throughout the state and the world where they don’t have the problems we do. He knows what the challenges are in eastern North Carolina and what the advantages are.

He will lead the team as only someone from this area can. He will point them in the right direction and make Bertie proud.

There is a long line of great coaches who have roamed the sidelines at Bertie High School. Names like Roy Bond, Bing Mitchell, Ron Cooke, Bill Hawkins, Chip Williams and Willie Roberson. Another name was added to that circle Friday.

We wish nothing but success for the Falcons and their new coach.