Legendary high school coach Don Woods joins Carson-Newman staff

Coach Don Woods

Coach Don Woods

By Adam Cavalier

Carson-Newman head football coach Ken Sparks has announced the hiring of former Morristown West High School head coach and Virginia Military Institute d-line coach Don Woods.

Woods will coach quarterbacks at Carson-Newman after Alex Good elected to return to Europe to continue playing professionally.

“I’m a little bit older than dirt, and I’ve done this stuff for a long time,” Woods said. “But the chance to work with Coach Ken Sparks and Coach Mike Turner is something I couldn’t turn down. I like our offense a whole lot, and I certainly like what coach Sparks and Turner stand for. I just want to be a small part of that.”

Don Woods’ career spans more than 40 years with a 247-96 career record. Under Woods, the Trojans reached the Class 4A state final in 2003, made four state semifinals appearances and notched five undefeated regular seasons. He was also the head coach at Hartselle (Ala.) High School from 1980 to 1997.

Woods was named A.F. Bridges Coach of the Year in 2005 and was also tabbed Five Rivers Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005 and Northeast Coach of the Year and State Runner-Up Coach’s Award in 2003. Woods was also selected IMAC Conference Coach of the Year four times, and was 2001 All-East Tennessee State Coach of the Year. He also coached in the Tennessee State All-Star game in 2001, 2006, and as a head coach in 2007.

The cupboard certainly isn’t bare for Woods at quarterback. Woods will work with first team All-SAC and All-Region QB De’Andre Thomas as he enters his senior year.

“We’ve got to have more than one to play,” Woods said. “So we’ll get that sorted out in the spring. I’ve been around De’Andre a little bit more than I have the rest of our quarterbacks. Gosh! What a great young man. If he does what he’s capable of doing, there will be some folks who think I’m a great quarterbacks coach.”

Behind Thomas, the Eagles have a trio of experienced backups in Goose Manning, Noah Suber and Darvia Dubose.

As much as Woods is impressed with the quarterback corps, he’s been floored by the staff as a whole. “I’ve been so impressed with our staff,” Woods said. “I’ve got a couple of grandsons who are five and seven. And with the coaches we have here, I’d love to see them play for men like we have here. I’m very honored and humbled to be here.”

Woods is a 1969 graduate of Tennessee Tech and holds a Masters of Arts in Education and Secondary Education from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Woods and his wife, Nancy, live in Morristown.

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