High School Sports

Antonio King steps down as Hillside’s football coach

Hillside's head coach, Antonio King, left, and Chapel Hill's head coach, Isaac Marsh, right, talk before a preseason scrimmage on Thursday, August 13, 2015, in Chapel Hill.
Hillside's head coach, Antonio King, left, and Chapel Hill's head coach, Isaac Marsh, right, talk before a preseason scrimmage on Thursday, August 13, 2015, in Chapel Hill. newsobserver.com

Saying “it was time to try something else, somewhere else,” Antonio King announced Thursday that he was stepping down as football head coach at Hillside High School.

“I am no longer head coach at Hillside, effective immediately,” King told his players at a meeting at the end of classes Thursday at the Durham school.

King said he was frustrated by several small things, like budget constraints, that hinder all public school coaches, but there was no single thing that pushed him to his decision.

“I talked it over with my family and friends and just decided it was time,” King said, adding he would like to coach somewhere in the future but had no immediate plans.

East Carolina has not publicly announced hiring King as its new running backs coach, but former Hillside star Vad Lee – the 2010 N.C. high school AP player of the year who played for King and went on to start at quarterback for Georgia Tech and James Madison – tweeted congratulations shortly after King stepped down.

Hillside won 72 games and lost 20 with King as head coach – going 40-1 in conference games.

The Hornets finished 10-3 overall, 6-0 in PAC-6 games in 2015, after which King served on the North Carolina coaching staff for the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

Hillside won 40 straight PAC-6 games after a 12-7 loss to then-PAC-6 rival Southern Durham in 2009, which was King’s first season as head coach at Hillside. Prior to that, he had served three years as an assistant under Ray Harrison, who retired after a 12-2-1 season in 2008.

In King’s second season as head coach, Hillside rolled to a 16-0 record and won the 2010 N.C. High School 4A state championship.

“I’ve coached a great group of kids,” King said. “I’m so thankful for all the guys I’ve had here in 10 seasons who let me be their coach and a role model. Without them, there would be no me.”

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