Shawn Witten inches closer to Elizabethton’s all-time winning record

Published 12:35 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

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By C.Y. Peters

Shawn Witten, head coach of the Elizabethton High School football team, inches closer to etching his name in the archives of local sports history. Witten is now just 10 games away from tying and 11 from surpassing his legendary grandfather, Dave Rider, as the winningest coach in Elizabethton’s storied football history.


Rider, a coaching icon, left an indelible mark during his tenure at Elizabethton, amassing an impressive record of 173 wins and 79 losses. His illustrious career spanned 23 years at Elizabethton, during which he served as the President of prominent conferences, including the Big Ten, Big Nine, Big Seven, and the Mountain Lakes conference twice. Rider’s coaching earned him the Coach of the Year title a remarkable 18 times overall, underscoring his impact on the game and his players.


Shawn Witten, the torchbearer of the Rider legacy, has been steadily carving his own path to greatness. As of the end of this year, Witten boasts a commendable record of 163 wins and 50 losses with two state titles. The current gap between Witten and his grandfather’s historic record is narrowing, and the anticipation within the community is palpable.


Witten’s coaching acumen is highlighted by two undefeated seasons, both culminating in state championships, with the 2019 victory marking Elizabethton football’s first state title since 1938. This achievement not only solidified Witten’s coaching talent but also revived a sense of pride and glory within the Cyclone nation. Eight seasons of undefeated runs in the region and an impressive streak of 15 consecutive winning overall seasons further underscore Witten’s commitment to excellence.


In the last five seasons alone, Witten has amassed an outstanding record of 57 wins and just nine losses, demonstrating a consistency that is the envy of many coaches in the region. This remarkable success has not only elevated the Elizabethton football program but has also solidified Witten’s status as one of the premier coaches in high school football.


As Witten approaches the historic milestone, reminiscing about the golden era under Dave Rider while eagerly anticipating the potential rewriting of the record books by his grandson. The connection between the Rider and Witten eras symbolizes the enduring legacy of Elizabethton football and its profound impact on the community.


With 10 games standing between Shawn Witten and tying his grandfather’s record, and just 11 games away from etching his name in history, the journey promises to be as thrilling as the victories that have defined Elizabethton football for generations.


Wittens season

2007 4-6

2008    5-6

2009   11-3

2010    9-5

2011   8-4

2012 11-3

2013  10-2

2014   8-3

2015   10-2

2016   11-2

2017   9-3

2018   10-2

2019   15-0

2020   15-0

2021  12-2

2022   6-5

2023   9-2

Totals 163-50