Mark Huddleston, who was announced at the new head football coach at Lynn Camp High School Friday afternoon, sees a ton of potential in his team.
“This place is a gold mine just waiting to happen. It is in a great location. It is exciting football. There are good athletes. There always have been. There has been a ton of tradition here. When the job came open, I was like why wouldn’t I jump for it,” Huddleston said.
Huddleston said that the mission statement for the program is to build men of character that will compete on and off the field for life.
“A lot of people judge success by wins and losses. We all want to win. We wouldn’t play the game if we didn’t. True success in the program is the type of people that leave the program. I want to see great husbands, fathers, community leaders and business people come from here, and be really proud of them. When you get your culture in line with that, the wins follow really quickly,” Huddleston said. “Make no mistake about it. That is where we are headed. That is what we are going to do.”
Xs and Os wise, Huddleston said that he plans to spread the ball around and get as many people involved as possible on offense.
“It’s a multiple defense. It is simple to learn. It is an attacking style defense. I enjoy bringing heat, but not at the risk of giving up a big play. It is very sound,” he added.
Huddleston has been involved in coaching in some form or fashion since 1998.
He had stints in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and spent 19 years teaching at Whitley County High School where he coached for 12 of those years.
Huddleston is currently teaching social studies at Knox Central, where he has spent the last year coaching the defensive secondary.
While he has not been a head coach at the high school level before, he did run a middle school program in Baton Rouge in 1999 and 2000.
When he first went to Whitley County High School, he served as the junior varsity head coach for four or five years.
He has also served previously as an offensive coordinator, a defensive coordinator, and a special teams coordinator at different times throughout the years.
Lynn Camp Athletic Director Rob Ledington noted that when the school first started looking through resumes and applications, there were several well qualified candidates for the position.
“I reached out to some friends of mine in the coaching business … Every coach that I talked to, who I respected on the football side, said Coach Huddleston was an excellent coach,” Ledington noted.
Ledington said more importantly than that, when he was at Whitley County several years ago, he had the opportunity to be a collaborative teacher with Huddleston, who he described as an excellent teacher.
“Not only did we get an excellent football coach, but we got an excellent teacher. Above all that, he is a great man. To me that is the most important thing,” Ledington added. “He will be a great role model for our kids. He will be a great role model for our school and our program. He is going to give us a level of prestige that we like. I am excited to work with him.”
Principal Anthony Pennington noted that there was a great deal of interest in the job, and school officials talked with people in several states, including, Arizona, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“When hiring a new coach, it isn’t always an easy task. You want to make sure you get the absolute best person for the job. In this case, I think we got the best man for the job,” Pennington said. “First and foremost, I wanted someone with great character, and someone, who was going to teach young men to be men. I wanted someone that had great character traits, and that came out in conversations that we had and in his interview what he wanted to do and he wanted to transform young men’s lives.”
“I think he is going to take us to the next level. I think he is going to maintain the pride and traditions we have here at Lynn Camp schools,” Pennington added.