By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Kelly Spivey may or may not be done with coaching.
However, he’s finished for sure as the head football coach at South Fulton.
Saying he was “just not completely happy with who I am and the situation I’m currently in,” Spivey — the Red Devils’ skipper the past five seasons — has resigned that role, effectively immediately.
He will fulfill his administration duties as assistant principal at the school through the 2012-13 school year.
The 41-year-old Spivey posted a 25-29 record during his SFHS tenure, with three of his five teams making the playoffs. He made an immediate impact, winning his first six games at the Red Devil helm with the program riding that wave of success to a No. 10 state ranking in the Associated Press Class 1A poll.
Each of his first three squads posted .500 or better marks with six victories apiece. South Fulton earned its only playoff triumph under Spivey in 2009 before falling to eventual state champion Union City in the second round of the postseason.
His two most recent squads fell short of expectations, however, fading badly in the second half of those campaigns while going 4-7 and 3-7, respectively.
The now former Red Devil skipper said he has “some other opportunities” to stay in coaching, but was adamant that he wasn’t interested in staying in the head coaching business.
“I’m really not 100 percent certain what I’m going to do as far as either coaching or just being an administrator. If I do coach again, though, it’ll be as a coordinator and not a head coach,” Spivey said. “Right now, I’ve lost the enjoyment of being a head coach. And when you stop loving what you do, it’s time for you to find something else and make a change.”
The head coaching job at SFHS was Spivey’s first after 12 years as an assistant with widely-respected Lewis County head coach Bobby Sharp. The last eight of those seasons Spivey earned considerable acclaim as a defensive coordinator, with his units consistently ranking among the state’s best statistically.
He was hired in December of 2007 to replace longtime Red Devil skipper Gwin Wood, whose final two teams had won just one game each — one of those a forfeit.
Asked if he’ll be leaving the South Fulton program in better shape then he inherited it, Spivey listed several areas in which it has indeed progressed under his guidance.
“We’ve been competitive almost every time out, and that’s been a positive step,” he said. “We’ve made advances in our weight room and improvements equipment-wise, and we’ve won two sportsmanship awards, which means our kids know how to act. I do believe our kids work hard and are good kids.”
SFHS Principal and Athletic Director Keith Frazier — who also serves as an assistant coach on the Red Devil staff — said he expects to fill the vacancy left by Spivey’s decision before the Christmas holiday break.
“I think we’ll be OK,” insisted Frazier, who said assistants Eric Knott, Jason Rodehaver and Justin Truett, among others, would lead South Fulton’s offseason conditioning efforts until a new coach is named. “I believe the program’s headed in the right direction. We have a good staff of assistants and they have a good work ethic to keep things going until we can get a new coach officially in place.
“I believe Kelly’s done a good job in some areas that a lot of people don’t see because they’re not reflected in our won/loss record. We’re a typical small school in that we’re going to have years where numbers are an issue and times where we go through up-and-down cycles. We’re going to continue to work hard, no matter our numbers or talent level.”
The Red Devils lose 10 seniors off this year’s squad.
Published in The Messenger 11.27.12