When it comes to Class 3-A high school football in Kentucky, no two coaches have been more successful over the past 10 years than Belfry’s Philip Haywood and Central’s Ty Scroggins.
Either Haywood or Scroggins has won the state title nine of the past 10 years, and six times they faced each other in the final.
So perhaps no one can offer a better insight into Haywood’s success than Scroggins, even though the Central coach said he wasn’t sure he could identify the Belfry legend the first time they faced off in 2007.
“For a while I couldn’t figure out which one was the head coach,” Scroggins said with a laugh. “Then I saw a guy with a suit on and figured that had to be him.”
Everyone seems to be a fan of Haywood these days, particularly the state’s head coaches. For the fifth time since 2003, they’ve voted Haywood as The Courier-Journal’s Kentucky football Coach of the Year.
Haywood received 11 votes in a statewide survey of coaches, with 105 returning ballots. Franklin-Simpson’s Doug Preston, Bowling Green’s Kevin Wallace and Casey County’s Steve Stonebraker were runners-up with seven votes apiece. Christian Academy’s Stefan LeFors received six votes.
Haywood also won the award in 2003, 2011 (tying with Trinity’s Bob Beatty), 2012 and 2015.
“If you win Coach of the Year one time, gosh, you’re extremely honored,” Haywood said. “I’ve been very blessed with longevity and success. We had a very good team this year, no doubt about it, and I have a great staff. …
“But I’m sure there are some coaches across the state who have probably passed us by. Just because they got knocked out of the playoffs early or went 6-5, they’re probably not getting the recognition they deserve.”
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With a career record of 417-129, Haywood is Kentucky’s all-time winningest coach. He was the head coach at Prestonsburg, his alma mater, for nine seasons (1975-83) before taking over at Belfry in 1984. He’s 6-6 in state finals at Belfry, winning four in a row.
After his latest victory in a state final – a 52-31 win over Central that completed a 14-1 season – Haywood provided a window to a special friendship he has developed with Scroggins over the past 10 years. As the two met at midfield to shake hands after the game ended, they embraced and talked for a few minutes.
“I just told him how much I appreciated his kids and how they didn’t quit,” Haywood said. “Like I said after the game, I’m not going to tell everyone everything we talked about.”
Scroggins got the upper hand on Haywood early in their relationship, with Central beating Belfry in the 3-A final in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Haywood turned the tables as Belfry beat Central 14-7 in the 2014 final and again this year.
Haywood said he was impressed with Scroggins after their first meeting in 2007 but gained a new level of respect for the Central coach in 2013.
Haywood said quarterback Sani Warren was devastated after Belfry lost to Central 12-6 in overtime in the 2012 final. The next year, Warren was the quarterback when Belfry defeated Wayne County 3-0 in the state final.
“Coach Scroggins wasn’t even coaching, but he made an effort to find Sani in the locker room and tell him, ‘Congratulations,’” Haywood said. “I remember Sani talking to me about that and how impressed he was that Coach Scroggins took the time to find him. I thought it showed the character Coach Scroggins has.”
Scroggins said he and Haywood have become good friends over the past 10 years, occasionally talking on the phone and getting together at various coaching clinics.
While both coaches recognize the contrast of their backgrounds – Haywood a white 65-year-old from the mountains and Scroggins an African-American 45-year-old from the city – they said none of that matters when they get together.
“A lot of people stereotype that city guys can’t get along with country guys and the other way around,” Scroggins said. “But when you step on that field, it’s about football. That mutual respect between one another goes a long way. It’s not about the mountains or the city or black and white.”
Haywood said the Belfry and Central programs have several similarities.
“Some of the similarities we talk about are the home lives some our kids come from,” Haywood said. “They experience some of the same things. It’s a totally different area – the city streets for them and the hollers for us – but there are a lot of similarities because neither of us are running over with great economies.
“We talk a lot about what we can do to motivate those kids.”
► Taking Coach of the Year honors in their respective classes: Ryle’s Mike Engler (6-A), South Oldham’s Jamie Reed (5-A), Franklin-Simpson’s Doug Preston (4-A), Central’s Ty Scroggins (3-A), Christian Academy’s Stefan LeFors (2-A) and Hazard’s Mark Dixon (A).
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
COURIER-JOURNAL HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACHES OF THE YEAR
1944 – Ralph Mills, Hopkinsville; 1945 – Ray Herndon, Frankfort; 1946 – Tom Ellis, Covington Holmes; 1947 – Ralph McRight, Paducah Tilghman; 1948 – Mike Basrak, Manual; 1949 – Paulie Miller, Flaget; 1950 – Doc Ferrell, Prestonsburg; 1951 – Nick Denes, Male; 1952 – Miller, Flaget; 1953 – Sam Potter, Lynch; 1954 – Ed Rutledge, Danville; 1955 – Bill Tucker, Corbin.
1956 – Johnny Meihaus, St. Xavier; 1957 – Fred Clayton, Caldwell County; 1958 – Jim Pickens, Bowling Green; 1959 – Don Shelton, Henderson; 1960 – (tie) Miller, Flaget, and Homer Rice, Highlands; 1961 – Roy Kidd, Madison; 1962 – (tie) Meihaus, St. Xavier, and Fleming Thornton, Hopkinsville; 1963 – John Snowden, Lafayette; 1964 – Charlie Kuhn, Male; 1965 – Thornton, Hopkinsville; 1966 – Charlie Bentley, Manual; 1967 – Virgil Rains, Mayfield.
1968 – Mike Murphy, Highlands; 1969 – Leon Dunagan, St. Xavier; 1970 – Jim Kennedy, Trinity; 1971 – Jim Gray, Thomas Jefferson; 1972 – Roy Walton, Tates Creek; 1973 – Dan Haley, Paducah Tilghman; 1974 – Bill Glaser, St. Xavier; 1975 – James Mathews, Franklin-Simpson; 1976 – Wilson Sears, Bowling Green; 1977 – Garnis Martin, Bardstown; 1978 – Jack Morris, Mayfield; 1979 – Joe Hood, Butler.
1980 – Marshall Patterson, Fort Campbell; 1981 – Jake Bell, Henry Clay; 1982 – Bill Herrmann, Highlands; 1983 – Ken Barrett, Russellville; 1984 – Tom Duffy, Danville; 1985 – (tie) Jim Cullivan, Cawood, and Mike Fletcher, Fairdale; 1986 – Sam Harp, Anderson County; 1987 – Allan Cox, Paducah Tilghman; 1988 – Steve Haag, Manual; 1989 – Joe Hood, Warren Central; 1990 – Dennis Lampley, Trinity; 1991 – Don Danko, Clark County.
1992 – Lynn Ray, Covington Catholic; 1993 – Sam Harp, Danville; 1994 – Tom Duffy, Henderson County; 1995 – Mike Holcomb, Breathitt County; 1996 – Paul Leahy, Mayfield; 1997 – Dudley Hilton, Bourbon County; 1998 – Dale Mueller, Highlands; 1999 – Chuck Smith, Boyle County; 2000 – Smith, Boyle County. 2001 – Smith, Boyle County; 2002 – Bob Beatty, Trinity; 2003 – Philip Haywood, Belfry.
2004 – Smith, Boyle County; 2005 – Kevin Wallace, Bowling Green; 2006 – Jim Matney, Johnson Central; 2007 – Jack Haskins, Lone Oak; 2008 – Steve Lovelace, Christian County; 2009 – Luke Salmons, Lawrence County; 2010 – Brad Hood, Allen County-Scottsville; 2011 – (tie) Beatty, Trinity; Haywood, Belfry; 2012 – Haywood, Belfry; 2013 – Shawn Thompson, Wayne County; 2014 – Preston King, Iroquois; 2015 – Haywood, Belfry.