Mustangsâ€™ former coach mulls
over possible coaching options
Matt Rikard, the East Lincoln Mustangsâ€™ former head football coach, marked the third Lincoln County coach to either get fired or to step down. Yet, he insist his resignation has nothing to do with the other two.
â€œIt didnâ€™t play into it. Theyâ€™re being fired and my resignationâ€”thereâ€™s no tie-in at all. They have no link together whatsoever,â€ he said.
The 30-year old coach wants to make it clear his resignation also had nothing to do with his players.
â€œIt was a personal decision for me. It had nothing to do at all with the players. I think theyâ€™re going to experience a lot of success in the future especially going into the new conference where theyâ€™re on more of a level-playing field,â€ Rikard said.
Rikard talked it over with his fiancee` Julie Kendrick, a Bristol, Tennessee native, and his parents before finalizing his decision.
â€œI talked over with my family and fiancee (Julie). Once I reached the decision, it wasnâ€™t something I went back and forth on. It was something that I was at peace about.â€
Matt does still have the desire to coach again and already has a couple of leads that would land him in a coordinator capacity at either a Gaston County school or a Charlotte Mecklenburg school.
â€œThere is no one school. I have a lot of friends at different schools that have already been calling, which is nice. I already have some options, but none that are immediate,â€ he said.
The Mustangs finished 5-17, but the record is somewhat deceiving due to the tremendous hit the football program suffered as half of East Lincoln High Schoolâ€™s student body went to North Lincoln. Does Rikard believe that prospective employers will take that into consideration?
â€œI hope so. I think they will. Not just me, but the entire coaching staff and players were in a tough situation. This resignation is something that Iâ€™m not embarrassed about as far as wins and losses.â€
â€œIâ€™m not embarrassed at all with what the kids did. I feel like they played to the best of their ability. Even the games that we lost, they played with full-effort and thatâ€™s what we asked of them,â€ Rikard added.
Rikard plans on coaching again and hopes the job will be in this area since he purchased a house in Lincolnton nearly a year ago. Kendrick and Rikard plan to marry on March 26th.
In the meantime, he harbors no ill-will towards East Lincoln and is grateful for the opportunity.
â€œI wish them the best of luck. This is a good group of young men and theyâ€™re going to have a lot of success in the future.â€
by John Mark Brooks