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Tom Knotts named National Coach of the Year

Sports Editor’s Note: The following is a press release regarding Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame member Tom Knotts.

Last Friday, the National High School Coaches Association announced Tom Knotts of Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, South Carolina as its National High School Football Coach of the Year.

This past season, Knotts led Dutch Fork to its fourth straight South Carolina state high school football championship in the state’s largest classification. That championship landed the Silver Foxes at No. 11 in the High School Football America 100 national rankings, No. 15 in the USA TODAY Super 25 and No. 9 in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25.

Knotts, whose coaching career began in 1981, has now won 12 overall high school football state championships. He led Independence High School to six state championships and West Charlotte to a North Carolina state championship in 1995. During his time at Independence, Knotts and his program set a record for the longest public high school football win streak in America with 109 straight victories.

“We are extremely pleased to honor Tom Knotts,” said Eric Hess, Executive Director of the NHSCA. “Coach Knotts has established Dutch Fork as one of the top programs in the nation during his tenure as the head coach. He exhibits a strong dedication to supporting and developing his high school student-athletes both on-and-off the football field.”

“Coach Knotts’ record of 415-64-1 speaks for itself, but just as impressive is how he’s helped his student-athletes in life during his career that’s heading into a fifth decade,” said Jeff Fisher, head of the NHSCA Coach of the Year Nominating Committee and founder of High School Football America.

“I’m very honored,” said Knotts. “There are a lot of other people that go into me winning this award. There’s nothing better than high school football and I’d like to thank everyone that’s hand in helping me along the way.”

Over the next few months, the NHSCA will be announcing the 2019-2020 Coach of the Year honorees in 20 boys’ and girls’ sports. This marks the 21st consecutive year the NHSCA has honored achievers within the high school athletic community nationwide.

Each of the honorees will receive a beautiful plaque. In addition, the Coach of the Year honoree will be displayed in the National High School Digital Sports Hall of Fame currently under development.

Below are the NHSCA’s past selections for National High School Football Coach of the Year:

2018-2019 – Gabe Infante – St. Joseph’s Prep, Pennsylvania
2017-2018 – Bob Beatty – Trinity HS, Kentucky
2016-2017 – Bruce Rollinson – Mater Dei HS, California
2015-2016 – Gary Joseph – Katy HS, Texas
2014-2015 – Roland Smith – Miami Central HS, Florida
2013-2014 ­– Tom Westerberg – Allen HS, Texas
2012-2013 – J.T. Curtis – John Curtis HS, Louisiana
2011-2012 – Chuck Lenahan – Plymouth HS, New Hampshire
2010-2011 – George Smith – St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Florida
2009-2010 – Jeremy Williams – Greenville HS, Georgia
2008-2009 – John McKissick – Summerville HS, South Carolina
2007-2008 – James Drewry – Booneville HS, Mississippi
2006-2007 – Gary Rankin – Alcoa HS, Tennessee
2005-2006 – Randy Allen – Highland Park HS, Texas
2004-2005 – Charles “Corky” Roger – The Bolles School, Florida
2003-2004 – Bob Ladouceur – De La Salle HS, California
2002-2003 – Chris Jones – Heritage HS, Virginia
2001-2002 – Alan Trimble – Jenks HS, Oklahoma
2000-2001 – Bob Ladouceur – De La Salle HS, California
1999-2000 – Mike Pettine, Sr. – Central Bucks West, Pennsylvania