Murphy Coach Tops Usa Today Polling In North Carolina


Murphy High School head football coach David Gentry was recently voted the top football coach in North Carolina by USA Today readers and has moved on to another level in the competition.

The fourth installment of USA TODAY High School Sports’ “Best Of” contest series – the first-ever Best High School Football Coach competition – has rolled into its regional round. The 51 regional finalists each won their state contest and for the start of the regional round all vote counts returned to zero.

Gentry beat out seven other coaches in North Carolina in the online poll. He received more than 38,000 votes.

In the state round, fans cast approximately 4.8 million total votes. The leading vote-getter among the 408 coaches was Philip Haywood of Belfry High in Kentucky. He received 149,760 votes.

USA TODAY staffers selected eight active head football coaches in each state and Washington, D.C. after more than a month of conversations with local media and other state/school officials with high school football expertise. From there, the fans decide which coach emerges from a list of 408.

Gentry currently has a total of 339 career victories and his teams have won five North Carolina High School Athletic Association state titles, most recently in 2011.

The state round began Sept. 30 and ended Oct. 8. The 51 winners advanced to a regional round, where they are divided among eight regions of six or seven coaches apiece. The regional round began at noon (ET) Oct. 9 and ends at noon (ET) on Friday. The eight regional winners move onto the national round, which starts at noon (ET) Oct. 21 and ends at noon (ET) Oct. 29. The champion is crowned based on most votes in the final round.

The athletic department of the winning coach will receive $2,000. Second through fifth places also receive cash prizes for the athletic departments: second ($1,000), third ($500), fourth ($250) and fifth ($100). All eight finalists receive banners for their schools.

Gentry is currently a member of the NCHSAA Board of Directors.