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Stone resigns as Hickory High’s football coach

Stone resigns as Hickory High’s football coach

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Russell Stone

Hickory High head football coach Russell Stone walks the sideline during a game against Ronald Reagan in 2019. Stone resigned on Tuesday after four seasons at the helm of the Red Tornadoes, who he led to an overall record of 15-27 and a Northwestern 3A/4A Conference mark of 11-15.

Following a four-year stint as the head football coach at Hickory High, Russell Stone submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday. Hickory Public Schools (HPS) made the announcement in a press release sent to media members on Wednesday morning.

“It’s been a fast four seasons and I deeply appreciate my coaching staff and their dedication,” said Stone.

“I am grateful to HPS Superintendent Dr. Robbie Adell, Coach David Craft and (Principal) Mrs. Katherine Morningstar for providing me this great opportunity in Hickory.”

Hickory was 0-7 overall during the 2020-21 season, which was shortened and played this spring due to COVID-19.

The Red Tornadoes finished 0-6 in Northwestern 3A/4A Conference play.

In four seasons under the 66-year-old Stone, the Red Tornadoes were 15-27 overall and 11-15 in the Northwestern 3A/4A. They had winning conference records in 2017 and 2019, reaching the 3A state playoffs both seasons.

“We have laid a solid foundation here at Hickory for the future seasons,” said Stone. “Our junior varsity players were 5-1 with 16 sophomores and four freshmen playing varsity.

“I look forward to watching the bright future of Hickory football and I sincerely thank my players and their families for their hard work and dedication,” he added.

“I also want to thank the HHS Athletic Boosters Club and our community for their very generous support.”

Stone has won 277 games in 40 seasons as a head football coach. Prior to joining Hickory in March 2017, he coached at seven other high schools: Rowland, South Robeson, Lumberton, West Forsyth, Purnell Swett, Douglas Byrd and Village Christian.

Stone’s longest coaching tenure was a 14-year stay at West Forsyth from 1991-2004, while his stints at South Robeson and Douglas Byrd both lasted seven seasons.

“Coach Stone loves football and we appreciate his dedication to the sport,” said Craft, who serves as Hickory’s athletic director.

“We are thankful for his four years of service and helping so many of our young athletics earn scholarships to play football on the next level. We wish Coach Stone the very best with his future endeavors.”

Hickory Public Schools will begin an immediate search for a new head football coach to lead the Red Tornadoes.

Josh McKinney is the sports editor for the Hickory Daily Record.

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