Freedom High School Principal Mike Swan announces Jim Bob Bryant is slated to be the Patriots new head football coach. Bryant has 20 years of teaching and coaching experience and has been a high school head football coach for the past 14 years. He comes to Freedom after nine seasons as head football coach at Havelock High School in Craven County.
“We are very excited to welcome Coach Bryant to the Patriot family and look forward to him taking the helm of our football team. Coach Bryant is a two-time Associated Press North Carolina Football Coach of the Year, has won three state championship games and has a very impressive overall winning record on the football field. Just as impressive is Bryant’s success with student athletes and his character development and community service programs off the field.”
Bryant said, “I am excited to become the next head football coach at Freedom High School and look to build on an already great football tradition. I loved my years at Havelock High School and will ever be grateful to Principal Dr. Jeffrey Murphy and Havelock, but I am ready for a new challenge. Football is a team game, and I will need help from the administration, assistant coaches, players and the Freedom football community to be successful. I have always lived and coached in eastern North Carolina and look forward to coaching in the western part of the state. My wife and I have always wanted to live in or near the mountains, and we are excited about the next chapter in our lives.”
Bryant played quarterback for Guildford College and has a bachelor’s of science degree in exercise and sports science from East Carolina University. Before becoming the head coach at Havelock High School, he spent five seasons as the head coach at Greene Central High School and seven seasons as offensive coordinator at Williamston High School. His overall head coaching record is 160-35. Bryant has had 58 players go on to play football in college, and he has lead character development and volunteer/community service programs for his players.
In addition to the three state championship wins, during Bryant’s tenure at Havelock High School, the football team won seven conference championships, made seven eastern final appearances and won four east region championships.
Bryant is married to Mary Candace Bryant, who has two sons. He enjoys outdoor activities, including bungee jumping, surfing and skiing, as well as lifting weights, fantasy football and spending time with friends and family.
The Burke County Board of Education votes on all personnel matters during regular monthly meetings.
Bryant’s coaching highlights include:
2008-2016 - Head Football Coach at Havelock High School
118-16 overall record
2008 - Turned around a program that had only won 7 games the previous 3 years; went 8-4 in first season as head coach and tied for 2nd in conference.
2009-2015 Coastal Conference Champions, only 1 conference loss in 7 years.
2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 Conference Coach of the Year
2009 - 13-2 Eastern Finals
2010- 11-4 Eastern Finals
2011 - 3A State Champions, beat 3-time defending state Champions West Rowan 38-6; 16-0 record: Max-Preps led state in total yards and points; NC AP State Coach of the Year
2012 - 3A State Champions, beat Concord 55-21; 15-1 record; Max-Preps led state in total yards and points
2013 - 3A State Champions, beat Concord 21-13; 16-0 record; Max-Preps 3A led state in total defense; NC AP State Coach of the Year; Coached in Semper Fidelis All-American Game
2014 - 3A State Runner-up; 14-2 record; Max-Preps led state in total yards and total points; Selected to Coach in Under Armour All-American Game
2015 - Conference Champions; 12-1 Over-All Record
2016 -East Regional Finalist; 13-2 Over-All Record; Carolina Panthers NFL Coach of the Week.
2003-2007 Head Football Coach at Greene Central High School
42-19 Overall record
2003 and 2005 - EPC Champions (Three 2nd Place finishes)
2003 and 2005 - Coach of the Year
2003, 2005, and 2007 - Area Coach of the Year
2001 - Started NC Shrine Bowl Combines
2007 - Selected to coach in NC Shrine Bowl (33 years old)
1996-2002 Offensive Coordinator at Williamston High School
1999 - 1A State Championship
2001-2002 - State Runner-up