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NC's Blackmon resigns coaching duties

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Heath Springs native wants more time with family

By The Staff

BOONETOWN – Veteran North Central High School head football coach Ron Blackmon has resigned as the Knights’ football coach and student activities director.

Blackmon, a Heath Springs native, said he will step down from both positions at the end of the 2008-09 school term.

A 26-year coaching veteran, Blackmon made his intentions known to North Central High School principal Worth Thomasson last Wednesday.

“I have to do some things with my family. I have a son (Troy) who goes to college in Florida and my little girl (Kimberly) is getting a little older, so I’m going to spend more time with her,” he said.

“There are just some things, personally, that we (Blackmon, his wife Vicki and their family) want to do. Basically, I’m going to spend more time with my family and have more time to take care of the things that I need to get done.”

Blackmon said he will continue to be employed by the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) in a yet-to-be-determined role. He said will be employed at another Kershaw County school under a 220-day contract.

Kershaw County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan praised Blackmon for his service to the North Central community and the school district.

“I appreciate Mr. Blackmon’s dedicated work with the youth of the North Central area,” Morgan said in a release. “I’m pleased he will continue to work with our school district.”

Blackmon said he appreciated the professional manner in which his decision was handled by Thomasson and the KCSD.

“Everything’s kosher,” he said. “I want to do things gracefully and with dignity. I think they’re letting me handle it in a dignified way. I told Worth that we’re going to do this the right way. He deserves to have who he wants to take my place.

“Kershaw County is a first-class school system and has first-class leadership and people here. The board members have been supportive of us throughout the years that my family has been here. We made this decision with a mutual good feeling.”

Blackmon launched his coaching career in 1982 at Allendale-Fairfax High School. He later took head coaching jobs at Midland Valley and Chesterfield high schools.

He moved to North Central in 1999 as an assistant under Billy Johnson. He was named as the school’s head football coach and athletic director in 2001.

Blackmon, in eight seasons leading the Knights, guided his teams to the playoffs four times.

Blackmon served as a Shrine Bowl assistant coach in 2005 and was the North head coach in the 2007 North-South All-Star game. Blackmon also served as an assistant coach in the 1996 North-South game.

Blackmon’s coaching career included more than football. While at Allendale-Fairfax, he was a founding father of the S.C. Strength Coaches Association. He was the first inductee into the organization’s hall of fame. In addition, he also coached high school track, including the  North Central boys squad.

For more than a year, in addition to his roles as football coach and activities director, Blackmon was heavily involved in the school’s new athletic facilities. He played a key role in the design of the school’s Wellness Center.

“They’re wonderful facilities here. Whoever comes in now and whatever they decide to do, the facilities are second-to-none,” Blackmon said. “The facilities will not be a problem. I think we’re going to leave it in good shape.”

As for this past football season, NC started the year with  four seniors in what was a 1-9 season. In many games, the Knights dressed two seniors.

“There will be a good group of kids coming back for the new coach. They may have a good chance to be successful,” Blackmon said.

Blackmon said the one-win 2008 season wore on him and played a role in his decision.

“With the season we had, added with all the things that happened with the facilities, all those combined together, I just wasn’t spending enough time with Vicki. And I’ve been ignoring some responsibilities which I need to be taking care of at home,” he said. “It’s been brought to my attention with some of this. When you get to where I’m at in my tenure, you look at things from a different perspective.”

Blackmon said he will always have the Knights’ green and gold in his blood.

“I’ll be supporting them. I support these kids and North Central all the way,” he said. “I’ve been here 10 years and they’ve been good to me. I’m not going to go out of here with any bad feelings.”