First Posted: 3/27/2015
ROCKINGHAM — One would think the news of Paul Hoggard’s departure from Richmond Senior would make the rest of the Southeastern Conference coaches happy.
Actually it is the opposite.
“We are losing a great coach and a better person,” Scotland coach Richard Bailey said. “It’s a sad day for me. He’s a great man and a great mentor to the kids.”
Bailey’s and Hoggard’s time on the gridiron together dates back to the old Mid-Southeastern Conference. Bailey’s Jack Britt teams were unable to defeat Hoggard’s Richmond squads in three matchups, including the 2008 4AA championship game. The Raiders rallied for a 38-35 victory to claim their seventh state title.
“We wanted to beat each other on the football field,” Bailey said. “After the game, he was always shook your hand and congratulated and wished you well. He’s always been first-class. His players represented Richmond County with class.”
With Hoggard now headed to John A. Holmes in Edenton, Pinecrest coach Chris Metzger becomes the longest-tenured coach in the SEC. He believes Hoggard’s greatest gifts were off the football field.
“First and foremost, Paul is a brother with me in Christ,” Metzger said. “We got to spend time together with our families at FCA Black Mountain. I’m most impressed with his commitment to his wife and his sons. It’s really special. He’s just a great human being.”
Metzger hired Hoggard as one of his assistant coaches in the annual International Bowl in Austin, Texas in 2013.
“I got to watch him work his magic with the offensive line,” Metzger said. “He’s the best offensive line coach I have ever seen. I have been in high school, college and NFL camps. He’s the best.”
Former Purnell Swett coach Mark Heil echoed the sentiments of Bailey and Metzger.
“I’ve known him going on 25 or 30 years, back when he was an assistant,” Heil said. “He’s a workaholic, he really is. He takes it seriously and he’s a good family man.”
Heil said Richmond is one of the toughest places to coach in the state and thought Hoggard did a good job keeping the standards at “the greatest tradition in the state” and will succeed at Holmes.
“It isn’t easy to coach there,” Heil said. “He’s a very good friend and I’m happy for him and his family. It was tough preparing for his offense. It was so hard stopping them.”
Russell Stone, who faced a Hoggard-coached team at several schools, said Richmond is losing a great coach.
“I’m sure he’s doing it for his family,” Stone said. “Any coach that makes a move like this at this point in his career is doing it for his family. He’s a great family man.”
Stone added he shared some advice with Hoggard about having his son play quarterback. Luke Hoggard started at quarterback for the Raiders this season.
“My son Tripp played quarterback for me at West Forsyth,” Stone said. “I told him to enjoy the time coaching your son. He’s a really great O-line coach and a good offensive guy. He’s going to win a bunch more, he’s going to be in a very good situation.”
Chris Hughes, the editor of CarolinaPreps.com, believes Richmond is losing one of the top coaches.
“In my opinion, he’s one of the elite coaches in North Carolina,” Hughes said. “Especially with his ability to coach the offensive line and offense.
“He is a rare combination of a great football coach and great person off the field.”
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.