Green Hope football coach Kwame Dixon, who led a remarkable turnaround at the school, resigned Wednesday morning after six seasons. Dixon was the longest-tenured coach in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference.
“My goal when I got here was, whenever I chose to leave, was it would be in better shape than when I got there,” Dixon said. “
When Dixon started in 2011, after being an assistant at N.C. Central, the Falcons were on a 38-game losing streak. Green Hope broke the streak in Dixon’s first game, a 38-0 win at Smithfield-Selma and finished 2-9.
In every season since, Dixon guided the team to the postseason. The Falcons won the SWAC in 2014, going 10-3 and reaching the second round of the playoffs. Dixon called that title – clinched with his first group of seniors who had been in his program all four years – that was clinched in final regular-season game against rival Panther Creek – of his fondest memories.
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“To get the kids to five straight playoff appearances ... it’s only us and Middle Creek and Fuquay(-Varina out of the SWAC),” Dixon said. “Who would’ve thought we’d be putting Green Hope football in the same sentence with Middle Creek and Fuquay and the tremendous traditions they’ve had?”
His career mark is 47-59, going 11-23 at West Johnston (7-5 in his last of three seasons from 2005-07) and 36-36 at Green Hope. He exits as the Falcons’ all-time leader in wins.
He said one of the keys to building a program is commitment from the top, starting with the time coaches put in, down to showing the players what it takes.
“When people played us, they could no longer circle that (game) and count it as a win. They knew they had to fight and battle. The scoreboard didn’t always show that, but I never remember a game when our kids just gave up,” Dixon said. “Hopefully that value of never giving up and fighting to the end and competing to be the best they can possibly be will stick with the kids on and off the field.”
There are now seven coaching vacancies in the area that are open or will open due to retirements: Southern Vance, Green Hope, East Wake, Harnett Central, Beddingfield, Bunn and Orange.
Dixon said he would still like to coach at a high level and it doesn’t have to be as a head coach. He thinks the next Falcons coach will be in good shape. Green Hope had few seniors on this year’s team that went 6-6 – the best record of any team slated to be in Green Hope’s new conference that starts next fall.
“The next coach coming to Green Hope will be inheriting a very talented team that was young this year and still clawed their way into the playoffs,” Dixon said. “The community and administration that they will be inheriting is second to none, and I’ve worked at a lot of places. We’re not leaving the cupboard bare. It’s a great situation.”
J. Mike Blake: @JMBpreps