Athletic Director and head football coach Rick Knight to retire effective June 30
BURNETTOWN — Midland Valley Mustang fans thought their athletic director and head football coach was making an April Fools joke when he announced his retirement.
They then found out he wasn’t.
Rick Knight, 59, announced his retirement as both AD and coach of the Mustangs. He called roaming around the sidelines every Friday night the ironically stress-free part of his life.
Coach Knight’s sudden retirement was due to a stroke he had during the school session. He was at Aiken Regional Medical Centers for the majority of the week a few weeks ago.
“I had a little health situation. I’m expected to have a full recovery,” said Coach Knight. “I went back to school last week (the week of March 28). It was very hard with telling the kids; I told them on Friday (April 1). They were the first to know.”
After having a career as an assistant that was so successful, you never take anything for granted. There were some big dry spells in between some of those years and after early success, we didn’t win a region championship again until 1999. That taught me to appreciate everything when it happens. This year that’s what we did; we milked that for everything.”
Coach Knight’s coaching career began as an assistant at Silver Bluff High under Clayton Chriswell. When the Mustangs hired Coach Chriswell away a quarter century ago, Coach Knight followed him to then-unincorporated Burnettown. In 1999, he got his shot at the head coaching job when he took over during the season. Coach Knight wasn’t just a football coach – he also spent some time as a basketball coach. Coach Knight has been teaching weightlifting, history and government, and economics since the millennium began. In addition to retiring as AD and coach, he’s also retiring from all teaching. All of the retirements are effective June 30.
“I have no plans yet. I don’t have any hobbies other than sports. Coach Al (Lown, who is retiring from Silver Bluff) is going to get to play golf a lot now, maybe I’ll start playing tennis,” said Coach Knight.
Coach Knight led the Mustangs to the school’s first-ever Class AAA state championship game appearance. He said knowing he’s leaving having been a part of a magical season and a slew of recent success is a wonderful feeling.