Maiden High School's new football coach carries an extensive resume in the sport.
James "Buddy" King, a former longtime college offensive line coach, was introduced as the new head Blue Devil in a press conference Tuesday in the school's auditorium.
King served the past two seasons as offensive line coach at Goose Creek High School in South Carolina.
"I can't thank Mr. (Dwayne) Finger, Mr. (Jeff) Price, the school board and all of you for the opportunity we all have here at Maiden High School," King said in his first comments to the community.
King takes over the Maiden football program from Brian Brown, who led the Blue Devils to a 30-20 record and four postseason berths over the past four seasons.
King will be only the second Maiden football coach not named Brown in nearly 40 years, joining Kermit Whisnant, who coached the Blue Devils in the early 1980s.
He is only the sixth Maiden head football coach since 1955.
"How do you follow someone like the Browns, who have been a part of Maiden High School for so long? I consider it an honor," King said. "We want to make Maiden better than it was. Maiden's had so many good football teams in the past. We want to take Maiden from being good to great. That's our goal."
King's background includes stints as offensive line coach in college football programs, including Clemson (1975-83), Wake Forest (1984-86), South Carolina (1987-88), Louisiana State (1991-92) and Arkansas (1993-94). He also spent one season as offensive line coach for the USFL's Arizona Wranglers.
King is a 1974 graduate of Clemson, where he was a three-year starter and team captain in 1972.
More than 60 candidates applied and 12 interviewed for the Maiden coaching position, but Principal Dwayne Finger said the school knew instantly that King was the man for the job. The Catawba County Schools Board of Education approved King's hiring as a social studies teacher Monday night after the BOE's closed session at the end of its meeting.
"His philosophy matches Maiden's philosophy," Finger said. "He is a hard-nosed, 'grind-it-out' coach. He is a detail-oriented coach. He reminds us of Tom Brown. He is the type of guy that can carry on that tradition. He knows coach Brown and recruited this area. He knew Maiden High School. He knew people in the community and businesses in the community. He knows how to get the most out of Maiden football. For us, it was a clear-cut decision."
King left college coaching from 1995-2009 to work in business. In 2010, he returned to the sport he loves — but in the high school ranks.
Following two years as an assistant coach at Goose Creek and a state championship last season, King said it's time to lead a program.
"I knew after this season that I wanted to be a head coach," King said. "I couldn't be a head coach unless I got certified. I didn't get certified until the summer. I looked at some different opportunities.
The Maiden community immediately began buzzing about the new hire.
"We'll be happy — win or tie," one Maiden fan yelled to the coach as he addressed the crowd.
"I like that," King said. "I like that mentality."
After King's address, about 15 of Maiden's fans and booster club members lined up in the auditorium to meet and greet the new coach.
"I think the athletic department did a great job," said Steve Sims, a member of the school's booster club. "I think he will be good."
Maiden football coaches (since 1955)
Bill Barefoot: 1955-59, 1962-1965
Allan La Torre: 1960-61
Kermit Whisnant: 1979-1985
Tom Brown: 1966-78, 1986-2007
Brian Brown: 2008-11
Buddy King: 2012