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Ryan Habich. Photo courtesy of Watauga County Schools.

Originally published: 2013-02-21 19:27:56
Last modified: 2013-02-22 10:30:02

Ryan Habich named WHS football coach

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Ryan Habich will be the new head football coach at Watauga High School.

The Watauga County Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday to approve Habich's hiring.

Habich comes to Watauga from Fuquay-Varina, a 4-A program located south of Raleigh. He has been coaching at Fuquay-Varina for eight years and has been head coach for the last five.

Overall, the Bengals were 50-14 under Habich. Fuquay-Varina finished 7-5 this season and reached the second round of the state 4-AA playoffs despite returning just five starters from the previous season. The Bengals lost 34-14 to Richmond County in the playoffs, although they held a 7-0 lead after scoring on the second play of the game and 14-7 after the end of the first quarter.

The Bengals beat Green Hope 43-33 in the first round.

Before 2012, Fuquay-Varina, which plays in the Tri-Nine Conference, won at least 10 games the previous six seasons. They were 10-2 in 2011, 11-2 in 2010, 11-3 in 2009, 11-2 in 2008 and 2007 and 11-3 in 2006.

Habich takes over for Tom Wright, who stepped down after one year as coach. Wright agreed to take over the program on an interim basis after Tim Pruitt resigned in May 2012.

Pruitt had an overall record of 21-27 in four seasons at Watauga.

Wright, who is also Watauga's athletics director, guided the Pioneers to a 5-7 overall record, 2-4 in the Northwestern Conference in 2012. Watauga reached the state 4-A playoffs, but were beaten 69-0 by state runner-up Porter Ridge.

Watauga's last 10-win season was 2007 when, led by running back and safety Eric Breitenstein, the Pioneers finished 11-4 and reached the Western 4-A Regional final.

Habich also coached at Cocoa Beach, Fla., from 1999-2002, and Melbourne High (Fla.) from 2002-2005.

Habich is no stranger to the High Country. He played quarterback at Western Illinois before transferring to Mars Hill College. He holds a bachelor's degree in physical education from Mars Hill and a master's degree in exercise science from Campbell University.

Watauga High Athletic Director Tom Wright said Thursday that there would be a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the WHS Media Center to welcome the school's new football coach.