Following the announcement of his resignation as head football coach this week, Giddens will remain athletics director at Clay Central and will serve as the assistant principal at the junior high school.
“It’s something that’s been on my mind for a while,” Giddens said. “There’s not just one reason to be honest with you, it just felt like it was time to do that. It was the right time. It’s been 28 years. It’s not just a snap decision or anything like that.”
The move came a year after Giddens was faced with a decision between an administration job and head football coach. He previously served as the principal of Lineville High in its last year and the assistant principal the previous three years.
“I could have had a job in the administration, no doubt,” he said. “It was a decision that I really had to think about, but at the same time I was just fortunate to be involved in what we were doing with the football team. We did a lot of wonder things. I made the right decision.”
In its first year as a school, Clay Central went 10-2 under Giddens, winning the Class 4A, Region 3 championship and advancing to the second round of the state playoffs. It was the first football season after the consolidation of former rivals Lineville and Clay County.
“It went much smoother than a lot of people across the state thought it would. ... On May 7 of last year when we started spring training, it was instantaneous that we had something special," Giddens said. "Those kids set the tone and set the bar for how good Clay Central should be.”
One candidate for the open position is Herron, the former Clay County coach and Clay Central defensive coordinator. Herron posted a 33-8 record for the Panthers from 2009-11, including a trip to the Class 2A state championship game in 2009.
“Kris did a great job at Ashland and he did a wonderful job last year,” Giddens said. “I’ve depended on Kris a lot and he’s a classy person. He would definitely be the one that you’d look at.”
Giddens had a 128-45 record during his 13-year tenure as head coach of Lineville, winning six region titles and finishing runner-up for the Class 2A state championship in 1999 and 2002.
Now out of the fast-paced life of coaching, Giddens will have more time on his hands, which he said he’ll spend with his family, including his five grandchildren. However, Giddens added he’ll miss walking the sidelines Friday nights.
“I guess you could say I’ll always miss it, but I’ll be around it in a different way. It’s not like I’m going to stay at my house year around,” Gidden said. “I’m sure there will be times I’ll wish I was out there on the sideline, but I think that’s natural for anybody.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star