NEWBERRY — Newberry High School head football coach Phil Strickland beat out seven other high school coaches across the state to win the state round contest for USA Today’s Best High School Coach in the Country contest.
Strickland garnered 40,153 votes, besting Dorman High School’s Dave Gutshall, who got 25,590 votes. Voting for the state round ended at noon Oct. 8. Voting began Sept. 30. Irmo High’s Bob Hanna came in third with 6,818 votes.
The other contenders were Dutch Fork’s Tom Knotts with 6,155 votes, Stratford’s Ray Stackley with 3,797 votes, Summerville’s John McKissick with 1,383 votes, Byrnes’ Bobby Bentley with 265 votes and Dillon’s Jackie Hayes with 166.
Th regional and national rounds are up next. The regional round is divided among eight regions with six or seven coaches each. The regional round voting begins at noon Oct. 9 and ends at noon Oct. 18. Once the eight regions have a winner, the national round voting starts at noon Oct. 21 and ends at noon Oct. 29.
The athletic department of the winning coach will receive $2,000 and second through fifth place winners will receive cash prizes for their departments as well on the national level.
The contest series began in November 2012 with the best high school football rivalry competition, won by Brookfield vs. Marceline in Missouri. The teams celebrated their national title rivalry on Sept. 13 in Brookfield. In January, Hartford, Vt., was crowned as the People’s Champion high school football team. The top high school mascot last spring was won by the Centralia, Ill., Orphans after 80 million total votes were cast during the competition, according to the USA Today contest rules.
Vote by heading to the website at http://contest.usatodayhss.com/best-coach-2013/map.