Prep Insider Blog

Monroe’s Central Academy names new head high school football coach

New Central Academy head football coach Tony Byrum
New Central Academy head football coach Tony Byrum

Central Academy High football coach Shane Griffin has resigned and the school has hired Tony Byrum as its new head coach.

For the past two years, Byrum was an assistant coach under Griffin at Central Academy. Byrum also coached girls basketball at Central Academy and was a former football coach at Monroe High.

Byrum, who won a N.C. 2A girls state basketball championship as head coach at Monroe in 1993, was a football star at Monroe High in the ‘70s.

He played college football at Bowie State and later had a tryout with the New York Jets before playing with Reggie “Super Gnat” Smith -- a former Atlanta Falcon and an Arena League Hall of Famer -- for the Charlotte-based Carolina Storm of the American Football Association in the early ‘80s.

Byrum’s son, Dion, played cornerback for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers in 2006.

Griffin had coached the Monroe-based school for two years, going 5-16. Central Academy was 1-10 last season and lost its final nine games. Since opening in 2007, the school has never had a winning season. Its best year came under coach Tad Baucom in 2011, when the Cougars finished 5-7.

This season, first-year coach Byrum and Central Academy will face Garinger High on Sept. 8. Garinger has lost 52 straight games and not won since Oct. 21, 2011, when it beat Harding 16-14. Garinger has hired a new coach, former West Mecklenburg coach Jeff Caldwell, to try to turn the program around.