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Justin Haddix leaving Corbin for Boyle County to face expectations Chuck Smith left behind

By LARRY VAUGHT

Boyle County has its new football coach — Justin Haddix.

The former Breathitt County and Western Kentucky quarterback was announced as the new Boyle coach Sunday after he sent a text message to his current players at Corbin letting them know he was leaving.

Haddix spent the last six years at Corbin and went 64-18, including a 17-6 mark in postseason player. He got Corbin into the state title game twice but lost to Central 20-19 in 2018 after beating Boyle in the state semifinals and lost to Boyle 40-21 in the 2017 title game. That was Corbin’s first appearance in the state championship game since 2002.

Corbin won 11 or more games four times during Haddix’s career but finished just 6-5 in 2019 and was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.

At Boyle, he has to follow legendary Chuck Smith and the 211-45 mark in compiled in 19 season during his two stints with the Rebels. Boyle went 14-1 in 2019 and lost to Johnson Central in the title game. Boyle had a 25-game win streak snapped when it lost to Corbin in the 2018 state semifinals but Smith had a 47-game win streak from 1999-2002 during his first stint at Boyle before leaving to spend eight years as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky.

He won six state championships at Boyle, including five straight from 1999-2003, and got Boyle in the title game eight times.

Smith’s son, Brandon, was a record-setting quarterback for him and then played at Western Kentucky. He’s built a state championship program at South Warren and could have had the job but I think wisely decided not to try and follow his father.

Haddix apparently had at least one conversation with Brandon Smith, which makes sense because they know each other from their days playing for the Hilltoppers.

Haddix obviously was one of Boyle’s main targets when Chuck Smith announced his retirement and certainly understands how hard it is to follow Chuck Smith. Haddix comes from a Corbin program that also expects to win but I’m not quite sure the pressure/expectations at Corbin can match those at Boyle based on recent success of the Boyle program.

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