Something we don’t see quite as celebrated today as in decades past is longevity: the ability to last and stick with something for a long time. In this episode of Linch with a Leader, Mike sits down with one of the legends in American high school football history, Coach Philip Haywood. In his conversation with Mike Linch, Coach Haywood shares how his role as a coach is far more than about winning; it’s about changing lives.
Haywood is the head football coach at Belfry High School in Belfry, Kentucky. He is the winningest high school football coach in Kentucky history, amassing more than 465 wins over 47 seasons, including eight state runner-up finishes and seven state championships. Haywood has been honored by his peers on numerous occasions, being named the Louisville Courier-Journal overall Coach of the Year numerous times, and either Class AA or Class AAA Coach of the Year seven times. In 2013, he was voted USA Today’s Best High School Football Coach, and in 2017 was named Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.
One of Haywood’s biggest trademarks is his off-the-field activities related to youth and church activities. He has been the FCA huddle leader at Belfry for more than 35 years and is presently a youth leader at his church. He speaks regularly at churches, youth meetings, and various functions. When speaking at football clinics, he quickly turns to one of his favorite topics related to why we coach and the values we should be teaching our kids.
Coach Haywood was indicted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. He is also the author of Faith, Family, and Football, in which he shares his life story through the vehicle of his career in coaching and the three most important things in his life: faith, family, and football. Beyond a sports story, Faith, Family, and Football is a playbook for a successful life whether you are a coach, athlete, or parent.