Joe Evans was named head football coach at South Mecklenburg High School on Tuesday, and he can’t wait to get started.
“I think they want to win,” said Evans, 39. “I think the energy and enthusiasm and positive attitude I’m going to bring, and the changes I’m going to make, are going to be really good. We’ve got a good plan going into this and I’m letting the kids know that I’m here for them and will fight for them.”
This will be his third head coaching job since the start of the 2013 season. At Independence in 2013 and ‘14, he led the Patriots to a 20-6 overall record with two playoff appearances.
Despite the success, Evans was let go before the 2015 season. The Patriots have had one winning season since he’s been gone.
Evans bounced back quickly, coaching Ardrey Kell in 2015 and ‘16. His teams were 7-6 and 6-6 and made two playoff appearances.
In the two seasons since he left, the Knights have won eight games combined.
Most recently, Evans has been an assistant at Myers Park High. Asked why he was let go as a head coach despite his successes, Evans paused.
“I think it wasn’t in God’s plan,” he finally said. “For whatever reason, maybe it just wasn’t my time. I’ve learned a lot over the past four or five years ... I took a step back at Myers Park and saw things from a different perspective. I really matured and made a conscientious decision to be a better coach.”
Evans said he’ll take things slower this time, invest more in learning about his players and his school culture.
“It’s about being patient,” he said, “but also having a sense of urgency.”
South Mecklenburg was 3-8 last season and 2-10 in 2017. The Sabres have had just four winning seasons since the start of the 1998 season. In five of those seasons, South Meck had three seasons with one win and two seasons with none.
And, knowing that history, Evans thinks he’s the right man for the Sabres at the right time.
“It’s definitely going to work,” Evans said. “It’s a great situation. A good administration, great community support and it’s a huge school with a bunch of kids to pull into the program and make it really special.”