Northern Vance football coach Cory Lea has resigned after two seasons at the helm to take the same position at Riverside, where he was an offensive coordinator in 2014. He replaces Chris Howell, who went 12-22 in three seasons.
Lea’s Northern Vance teams went 5-6 both years, but the 10-12 overall mark doesn’t tell the impact until you look at previous seasons. In the six seasons prior, the Vikings had just nine wins overall.
The Pirates have had one winning season since reaching the 4AA state championship game in 2006.
“What other coaches had been telling me before I took the (Northern Vance) job was that it wasn’t very organized, but they had athletes,” Lea said. “So we came in with a definite plan for offense, a definite plan for defense, a definite plan as far as the culture we were going to create at Northern Vance. The kids bought in and from there it took care of itself.”
The Vikings narrowly missed the playoffs in Lea’s first season and were ineligible this year after three Vikings were ejected for fighting in a game against Warren County. The five wins were the most for the school since going 8-6 in 2008.
“It was a really, really big pleasure being there. The kids really bought in. It wasn’t really hard to get it going. I had a really good staff and the kids really bought in,” Lea said.
Lea was previously a coach head coach at Bartlett Yancey, from 2011-13, and then the offensive coordinator at Riverside.
Northern Vance, like rival J.F. Webb, will be moving down from the 3A ranks to 2A next year and play in the Northern Carolina 1A/2A against regional rivals Warren County and Southern Vance.