CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — For 53 straight years, Clayton High School football had just two head coaches, Glen Nixon followed by 28 years of the entertaining Gary Fowler.
With five coaches in the past ten years, though, the head coaching job at Clayton has been a revolving door.
As Scott Chadwick begins his second year leading the Comets, he’s hoping to bring some stability back to this proud program.
“I want to retire here, this is where I want to be,” said Chadwick.
“We bought a house and moved in a year ago and my wife said to me, ‘I’m not moving again. We are staying here.’ If you’re a high school football coach in North Carolina, I don’t know if you could have a better set-up than what I have here,” he added.
To an extent, Clayton is still known as a small-town football community despite the area’s recent population boom. And while newer schools like powerhouse Cleveland High School have siphoned off players that in the past would have gone to Clayton, kids still grow up dreaming of playing for the Comets.
“I loved it, I loved being around the program coming out here on Friday nights and watching my brothers play and see them practice,” said senior defensive tackle Chris Kinsey. “I really look up to my brothers. They came here and set the path for me and made me very excited to come to Clayton when I got here.”
Chadwick acknowledges Clayton has grown from a small town to a big town, but he feels certain the tradition and magic built through the years is about to return.
“I certainly think it’s there, and I think the two things that it will take to get it back to where it was and get it back to where the town totally shuts down on a Friday night is stability, and the second thing is winning,” said Chadwick. “The bottom line is you can do all these great things and have all this great stuff, but winning is still really important, you know we need to move the program in the direction of competing for championships.”
It’s what Nixon and Fowler did for more than five decades.