Hampton hires Lunsford as head football coach
Published 8:55 am Friday, February 26, 2016
After eight years as an assistant football coach at Hampton, Michael Lunsford will be taking over his first head coaching position.
And he will not be going far.
Hampton High School Principal Jeff Bradley confirmed Friday morning that Lunsford has been officially hired as head coach of the Bulldogs football program after his father, Mike Lunsford, recently stepped down to take a head coaching job at Cloudland High School in Roan Mountain.
“It is very rewarding,” Michael Lunsford said. “This is a very big accomplishment. I am just excited and ready to get to work.”
Bradley said there were seven or eight applicants, four of which were interviewed. The four that were interviewed were all local. But in the end, Bradley said he felt Michael Lunsford made the best fit at Hampton.
“My self personally, I look back at my stint at Cloudland High School in the late 90s, when we made a into the State Championship,” Bradley said. “I can remember just about everyday during practice or even ball games that Michael was on the sidelines running around with a football when he was just knee high.
“He was very eager then to learn stuff from his dad,” Bradley continued. “Through out the years he has been there right beside his dad and has learned a lot from him. He is extremely knowledgeable of the game and is very good with the kids.
“One big aspect to him is the fact that he has a work ethic like his dad,” Bradley added. “That is a key part of being a good head coach.”
The new head coach will be taking the reins after a season that saw the Bulldogs go 13-1 and make it to the semifinal round of the Class AA State Playoffs, which Michael Lunsford was a part of as an assistant coach. However, Lunsford’s history with the program goes back further than his years as an assistant.
As a student-athlete at Hampton, Michael Lunsford shined on the gridiron. As quarterback of the Bulldogs in 2006, Lunsford set the most passing yards in a single-season record with 1,430 yards, a record that was broken this season by senior Coby Jones. Over his years playing at Hampton, Lunsford racked up 3,525 career passing yards, 47 career touchdown passes, and 4,407 yards of total offense, while leading the team to multiple visits to the state semifinals.
There is one thing for certain now. It is going to be very interesting when Hampton and Cloudland meet in football.
“It is definitely going to be a little different with him being on the other side of the sidelines,” Michael Lunsford said about his dad, Mike. “It is going to be a challenge. There are not many people in this area that have beat him. And I would like to be on that short list.”