HICKORY—Hickory High School has named its new head football coach, according to release from the school system and various media reports.
Allen Wittenburg has been approved for the post by the Hickory Public Schools Board of Education. He comes to Hickory after serving as the head football coach at Jimmy C. Draughn High School in Burke County.
Wittenburg, 41, is a native of Hickory and graduated from Hickory High in 1991, where he played football and baseball. He has 19 years experience as a teacher and coach in the state of North Carolina.
A graduate of Appalachian State University, Wittenburg began his coaching and teaching at Fred T. Foard in Catawba County and then was an assistant at Hickory High from 2001 through ’12, so he does have prior coaching experience at the school. He was an assistant football coach and head coach of both the junior varsity football and baseball programs.
He served as defensive coordinator for a couple of years at Patton High in Burke County.
According to Dr. Ann Stalnaker, principal at Hickory High, Coach Wittenberg’s experiences help him to understand and connect with the high school. “He develops great relationships with students and he is highly respected by his peers,” said Stalnaker. “He knows how to encourage and motivate student-athletes from all walks of life. He is so enthusiastic about Hickory High and has the commitment and strong character that will make him successful at our school.”
“I consider this position to be a true blessing in my life,” said Wittenberg. “I will have the opportunity to achieve excellence like many HHS coaches before me–including Frank Barger, my father—Larry Wittenberg (who graduated from HHS in 1957), David Craft, Sr., Troy Washam, and many more. I knew them all and was very fortunate to grow up watching these fine coaches lead the athletic programs at Hickory High.
“I honor the historic traditions, but it is a new day at Hickory High. I want to help build new memories for today’s players. My game plan is to first meet all the players; then the parents. I look forward to communicating expectations. I will direct the players as to how they must carry themselves –including their integrity and accountability—to their school, to the team, to themselves and to their families. I look forward to building excitement for Tornado football,” said Wittenberg.
Wittenburg will start his new position before the end of February. He will replace interim coach Forrest Blake, who took over after Mike Helms resigned at midseason.