Athletics








HPS Announces Stone as New Head Football Coach

HPS Announces Stone as New Head Football Coach
Posted on 02/27/2017
Stone

HPS Announces Stone

as New Head Football Coach

 

HICKORY… There’s something to be said when a high school football coach, over the course of the years, sends nearly 300 athletes to play on the college level.  That’s surely the result of building a solid foundation for football programs, as led by M. “Russell” Stone, Jr., the newly selected head football coach for Hickory High School.

 

Stone’s selection was unanimously approved on Monday night, February, 27, 2017, by the Hickory Public Schools Board of Education.  A reception to welcome Coach Stone is scheduled for this Thursday evening, March 2nd at Hickory High School, starting at 6:30 PM.  The entire community is invited to attend. Stone’s first day on the job at HHS begins March 3rd, the following morning.

 

Wisdom comes through experience and after 38 years in the classroom, 62 year-old Coach Stone is ready to bring his knowledge to Hickory High.  “God has been good to me,” said Stone. “My wife and I are embracing this exciting move to Hickory.

 

“I enjoy working with all players and getting to know their families.  I want to be a face in their lives—from front lawn chats to dedicating extra time in helping the players build upon their strengths.

 

“It’s really about building a foundation, said Stone. “I coach from a positive perspective—engaging all players, including those who’ve made mistakes. Changing lives, creating positive environments—it’s important the players want to be better athletes, smarter athletes—better people all around—for themselves and for their team.

 

“In 2002, I took a close study and re-evaluated my leadership as a coach. I changed from the power role to a coach with more flexibility. I spent several early mornings on the field at Wake Forest University, simply to watch the training of their athletes. I lost some tough games through the years, but as I set a new approach for my coaching strategy, the results were noticeable,” said Stone. “The game changed.”

 

Most recently, Stone served as head football coach for Village Christian Academy—taking the team to the state championship finals. Previous experience includes coaching at Jay M. Robinson High, Northern Guilford High, and Douglas Byrd High. 

Additional coaching experience includes Purnell Sweet High and West Forsyth High with earlier years coaching for Lumberton Senior High, South Robeson High and Rowland High.

 

Stone’s collective experience in coaching at these high schools has garnered State Championships, Eastern Regional Championships, Conference Championships—and perhaps most notably, turning around a football program at Douglas Byrd High, a school with a seven-year losing streak. “In our second season at Douglas Byrd, we won the Eastern Regional Championship State 4A Play-Offs,” said Stone.

 

A 39-year member of the North Carolina Coaches Association, Stone has also served as a regional director for Scout Camp Professional Football Combine; an instructor at Penn State Football Camp; a guest coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers; a regional scout for the Arena Football and Canadian Football League and offensive coordinator for the Greensboro Prowlers Arena Football Team.

 

Ranked ninth in 2014 among active coaches in North Carolina  with the greatest number of wins, Stone has had 60 players earn first or second team regional accolades and he has coached 17 Conference Players of the Year, one Gatorade Player of the Year, and one player who finished 3rd in USA Today’s Player of the Year.

 

The coaching accolades are numerous for Stone, including:

  • 1980 Cape Fear 1-A Conference Baseball Coach of the Year
  • 1982 Lumber River 2-A Conference Football Coach of the Year
  • 1983 Lumber River 2-A Conference Baseball Coach of the Year
  • 1983 The Robesonian County Baseball Coach of the Year
  • 1985 East Waccamaw 2-A Conference Baseball Coach of the Year
  • 1986 The Robesonian County Baseball Coach of the Year
  • 1994 Central Piedmont Football Coach of the Year
  • 1997 Central Piedmont Football Coach of the Year
  • 2000 NFL Carolina Panthers Coach of the Year
  • 2002 Central Piedmont Coach of the Year
  • 2002 NC Preps Coach of the Year
  • 2003 Central Piedmont Football Coach of the Year
  • 2011 Cape Fear Valley Football Coach of the Year
  • 2012 Shrine Bowl Assistant Coach
  • 2013 Cape Fear Valley Coach of the Year

 

Stone is married to Pamela Ward Stone and they will celebrate their 39thanniversary this June. They are the parents of three adult children and three grandchildren. Mrs. Stone studied voice performance at UNC-Chapel Hill and frequently serves as a guest soloist for various venues and churches.

 

“I am full of optimism for the football program knowing the experience and track record of success that Coach Stone is bringing to Hickory High School,” said Principal of Hickory High, Katherine Cater.

 

“I was really impressed with his desire to be a member of the Hickory community. With Coach Stone’s quick wit and his wife’s background in the arts, I expect they will receive a warm welcome here even outside the world of football,” added Cater.

 

“We are moving to Hickory to make this our home,” said Stone. “As for the football program at Hickory High, I want to build a foundation that is the very best, one the entire community can be proud of.”  

 


HPS Announces New Associate Head Football Coach

HPS Announces New Associate Head Football Coach
Posted on 02/27/2017
Harper

HPS Announces Associate 

Head Football Coach

 

HICKORY…  The Hickory Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the selection of Justin Harper as the new Associate Head Football Coach for Hickory High School.

 

Reporting to the new Head Football Coach of Hickory High, Coach Russell Stone, Harper will begin his duties at Hickory High, effective Friday, March 3, 2017.

 

Raised in Catawba County, Harper is a 2003 graduate of Bandys High School where he played four sports including football, basketball, baseball and track.

 

“I never played football until the eighth grade,” said Harper, “but playing at Bandys with Coach Randy Lowman gave me the opportunity to excel and build my confidence. It really wasn’t until my senior year that my skills began to surface. I am thankful to Coach Lowman for his steadfast dedication in working with me, helping to guide my course for collegiate and professional football.”

 

Upon graduation from Bandys, Harper attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, and soon thereafter, he received a full scholarship to play football for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known as Virginia Tech.

 

A successful four years at VT propelled Harper for draft with the National Football League as a wide receiver with the Baltimore Ravens. He played with the team from 2008-2011. Following his term with the NFL, Harper played with the Canadian Football League—playing wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2012) and the British Columbia Lions (2013).    

 

From 2013-2015, Harper served Lenoir-Rhyne University as a defensive assistant, offensive assistant, and wide receiver coach, before taking a position as the wide receivers coach and academic coordinator at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia (Jan 2015-Jan 2016).

 

Career highlights for Harper’s professional journey include: 2013 Coached in Division II National Championship; 2008 National Football League Combine Participant; and 2008 National Football League Draft Pick (Baltimore Ravens).

 

Collegiate recognitions for Harper include: 2008 East West Shrine Bowl game participant; coached by future Hall of Famer, Dick Vermeil; four-year Letterman; 2007 Orange Bowl appearance; 2004 Sugar Bowl appearance; 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Champion; 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Champion; and 2004 Virginia Tech freshman newcomer.

 

“We are most fortunate to have Justin Harper joining the Hickory High Tornado Nation,” said Hickory High Principal, Katherine Cater. “Coach Harper brings with him playing experience at the highest level. He is thrilled to be returning to his home where he is committed to building success for others in our community.”

 

Residing in Conover, NC and the father of two daughters, Coach Harper believes in the kids of Catawba County—and especially the students at Hickory High.

 

“If anyone knows me, they know I have a heart for the kids. God provided this opportunity at Hickory High and I am humbled to be a part of the hometown community. Along with the Head Football Coach, Russell Stone, I look forward to sharing a positive impact on the young men at Hickory High,” said Harper.