High School Sports

Source: Providence High football coach Justin Hardin heading to Independence

Providence High coach Justin Hardin, shown during summer workouts last July, is leaving Providence to become head football coach at Independence, a source told the Observer Thursday
Providence High coach Justin Hardin, shown during summer workouts last July, is leaving Providence to become head football coach at Independence, a source told the Observer Thursday dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Providence High football coach Justin Hardin is resigning to become the new head coach at Independence, a source close to the situation told the Observer on Wednesday night.

Hardin did not return calls. Efforts to reach Independence athletics director Kelly Lewis were also unsuccessful.

Hardin would become the Patriots’ third coach in seven years. Joe Evans left the program this month. Evans was 20-6 in two seasons at Independence, including 12-1 in 2014.

Independence is 191-27 since the start of the 2000 season. The Patriots won seven straight state championships from 2000 to 2006 and reached the 2007 state championship game. During that run, the Patriots won 109 straight games, under coaches Tom Knotts and Bill Geiler.

Hardin, a 2004 graduate of The Citadel, has coached at Providence for two seasons. He was 10-4 last season, leading the Panthers to a third-round N.C. 4AA playoff appearance. Hardin was 18-9 in two seasons with the Panthers. Prior to coaching at Providence, Hardin was 14-11 in two seasons at Union County’s Weddington High School.

The source said Hardin would meet with Providence players Thursday to discuss the move.

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