After leading Whitwell to back to back Class playoff appearances, R.C. Helton has submitted his resignation as head football coach at the Marion County school. The Tigers are coming off a 6-6 season in which they made the second round of the Class 1A playoffs.
The Tigers made big progress under Helton as they made the 2A playoffs in 2014 and then dropped classifications in 2015 and once again made the playoffs. Before Helton took over Whitwell hadn’t made the playoffs since 2005 and hadn’t won a playoff game since defeating Monterey in 1A in 2004. Helton was 12-11 in his two years at Whitwell and is a 1983 East Ridge graduate.
“It is with a clear conscience, but a heavy heart, that I tender my resignation,” Helton said. “The one element that I was not able to accomplish is to get the entire community to buy-in to what we were working toward. I know that Whitwell is a tight-knit community and I was seen as an “outsider” despite my efforts to become involved in the community as was evidenced by making a substantial commitment by purchasing a home in Marion County. It is my hope that in moving forward, Whitwell High School will be able to find a coach who is better received because that, I believe, is what it will take
(perhaps a graduate of WHS) to have all the stakeholders aligned. The young men in the program deserve to have a situation wherein they have stability and consistency.”
The Whitwell Administration will be hoping to find their next head coach with staying power to stabilize the program as Helton (2014-15) is the sixth coach since 2005 to spend three years or less at Whitwell joining Billy Barnhart (2011-13), Dan Tierney (2009-10), Tim Taylor (2008), Sam Montgomery (2007) and Phillip Condra (2005-06). Wes Green (2000-04) was the last coach to head up the program for more then three seasons.
After graduating from East Ridge where he played three years as a running back, before he signed with Glendale (AZ) Community College to continue his playing career. Helton coached at Desert Edge High School in Goodyear, Arizona back in 2007. He was also the offensive coordinator at Valley Vista (AZ) in 2008 and Sandra Day O’Connor (AZ) in 2009 before becoming the running backs coach at Trevor Browne in 2010.
There are 19 schools that are currently looking for a head coach they are: Whitwell, Howard, Gibson County, Sheffield, Dickson County, East Hickman, Hampton, Jackson North side, East Ridge, Chattanooga Central, CAK, Jackson County, Spring Hill, Cumberland Gap, Ravenwood, Sunbright, Sullivan Central, West Creek and Westwood.
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