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Pond Creek Nation rallies together to vote Coach Haywood to the top

By: Lauren Cash Email
By: Lauren Cash Email

BELFRY, Ky (WYMT) - "Haywood you vote?" For 3 weeks, Pond Creek Nation did arguably nothing but vote!

Belfry High School Head Football Coach Philip Haywood participated and won the USA Today's Best HS football coach competition.

More than 1.5 million votes were cast for Coach Haywood in the final round, and many of those votes came from a dedicated group of people.

Belfry High School Principal Mark Gannon was a part of that group, "We have an unofficial voting committee, I think Brenda Phillips was the head of that, really pushed that. I think we had a former student, my wife, there was probably 5 or 6 people within our community that really took the lead on it, and we had people in the community that had come together for a voting get together, a voting party."

This unofficial voting committee spent countless hours in front of a computer and a few sleepless nights as the deadline of Tuesday at noon lingered, but this bunch had it broken down into a system.

Retired teacher Brenda Philips was also a part of the committee, "I was the cheerleader, the one who motivated everyone on the campaign. We had people on publicity, scouting reports, we had people on strategy, we had people who fed us. We had people, math we always knew how many votes we needed to get."

All this effort to recognize a man who they say, is way more than just a football coach to the Belfry community.

Coach Haywood says, "It was just surprising, a small community like ours some of these other big named schools and coaches, I was just honored to be a part of it because I know some of these coaches have won championships and have these great records and schools. I'm very honored and humbled to be in this position, and thank everyone that cast a ballot and some of them worked pretty hard on it."

"Haywood you Vote" was just one way to show how this small community in Pike County can accomplish anything they put their mind to.

"We have a saying here at Belfry, 'Once you're a pirate, you're always a pirate.'" said Phillips.

Coach Haywood wins $2,000 for the school's athletic department and a banner will hang in the school.

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