Haywood named Coach of the Year

EAST PEORIA, Ill. — Forty-two seasons as a head football coach, six state football championships, including four straight in Class 3A and an overall record of 417-129. His lifetime story published in a book.


The resume fits legendary Belfry High School football coach Philip Haywood.


Haywood, the state’s all-time winningest coach was named the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s (NHSACA) Coach of the Year, announced during a banquet held on June 21.


Haywood was one of eight finalists selected for the award from coaches all across the country.


He earned the right to be among the finalists after being selected by the state’s high school coaches’ association.


Longevity, contribution to high school athletes, championship years and overall winning percentage was the criteria.


Those on hand for the announcement were evaluated by coaching experts, using a sport specific rubric to assign points in each category.


Other finalists included Lou Marinelli, New Canaan (CT) High School, Ricky Woods, Starkville (MS) High School, Les Meyer, Fairfield (MT) High School, Dan Imedieke, Linton (ND) High School, Jack Cisco, Hatch Valley (NM) High School, Arlin Likness, Yankton (SD) High School and Bill Young, Catholic Memorial (WI) High School.


The NHSACA Coach of the Year awards are the most prestigious given to a high school coach in the country. Some 152 coaches earn the national spotlight each June at the group’s annual convention.


Haywood had coached Belfry to 12 championship game appearances. The Pirates won back-to-back state titles in 2002-03 while participating in Class 2A.