Breaking News Story: Christian County High Makes Statement Hire in Ethan Atchley

Ethan Atchley at LCA

New Colonel headman a proven program builder

Ethan Atchley is known in Kentucky HS Football “coaching circles” as a savant. Coach Atch was merely 24-years old when first hired as the head man at Lexington Christian in 2014, following a head coach who had just polished off a 1-10 mark his final season. Atchley won 46 of his 64-games at LCA and then built Bullitt East from a 6A afterthought to an 8-4 finish his last year there only to see “his team” win a 6A title the first year after he departed. Atchley has an overall, eight year coaching mark of 63-34 and a winning percentage of 65%. This is what is called in the business a home-run hire. Congratulations, Colonels!

HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball

Previous article about Atchley

Coach Atch at Bullitt East

There are jobs being filled in the football world around the commonwealth of Kentucky which are statements more so than merely hires. There are coaches across Kentucky who have proven track records of success. A school system hiring such a coach is virtually assuring its program of success, regardless of what it has been doing up until that coach’s arrival.

Christian County High School has put 6A, District 1, on official notice by making such a hire. The Colonels are serving notice of its intent to get back into the “football game” across Kentucky, hot and heavy.

The Colonels will not abide any more sand being kicked in its face. The Colonels are in it to win it and are through settling for substandard direction, coaching, or effort from anyone associated with the Colonel program.

A once proud program accustomed to finding success at Kentucky’s highest levels of football competition, the Colonels have morphed into somewhat of a laughing stock. We wish there was a more delicate way of saying it; however, the truth is the truth and it shall set a program free.

The first step in resolving any problem is admitting one exists

Friday Night Fletch

The first step in resolving any problem is admitting one exists. We can’t fix that which we deny is broken. This program has been broken and for quite a while.

Cory Trice

The Colonels were 11-1 in 2017, boasting talent the likes of Kenneth “Coco” Major, Keyron Catlett, and current Pittsburg Steeler, Cory Trice. History-wise, the Colonels won a pair of “Big Boy” titles in 1982 and 1984, were semifinalists in 1992, and were 5A finalists in both 2008 and 2010.

The Colonel football program boasts a former coach, Dan Goble, who has been enshrined in the KHSAA Hall of Fame as well as all-timers like Jerry Reese (UK, NFL), Tony “Cheese” McCombs (EKU, NFL), and Keith Tandy (WVU, NFL). There are many, many others too numerous to completely include here.

The Colonel football program boasts a former coach, Dan Goble, who has been enshrined in the KHSAA Hall of Fame

Friday Night Fletch
Tony “Cheese” McCombs, EKU
Hall of Fame, NFL

Since 2017, a year in which the Colonels entered the playoffs 10-0 before bowing out in the second round, the Colonels have won only 10 of its previous 51-games, a winning percentage of 19.6%. This is a string of futility heretofore inconceivable to a program once accustomed to beating many western Kentucky teams just by de-boarding the bus.

The Colonels are getting a proven program builder in the hire of Ethan Atchley, who goes by Coach Atch. Coach Atch was only 24-years old when he was first hired to head up a struggling Lexington Christian Academy (LCA) football program in 2014. The program had just experienced a 1-10 finish and its fortunes didn’t appear too rosy.

We were able to catch up with present LCA head football coach Doug Charles. Coach Charles told KPGFootball, “I had a ringside seat to the magic Ethan Atchley performed when he took over a program which had gone 1-10. I can personally attest that Coach Atchley has all the ability to make an immediate impact as the new head coach at CCHS.”

Hang on tight as the football program at CCHS just landed a proven WINNER!

Doug Charles, HFC, Lexington Christian Academy (LCA)

Charles continued, “You are getting a young, energetic coach who will demand great effort and standards while crafting game plans that are both fun and certain to put his team in position to win. His plans will make everyone around him better.”

Doug Charles

Charles finished with, “No coach will EVER out work him. Hang on tight as the football program at CCHS just landed a proven WINNER!”

How did Coach Atch do with the reigns to the program he inherited at the tender age of 24? Coach Atch and the Eagles finished 6-6, 8-5, 12-1, 11-2, and 9-4 over his five (5) years at the helm.

The 9-4 team was an overachiever. That edition started seven (7) freshmen on a roster which finished on the 3-yard line, with the ball, when time expired while on the short end of a 35-31 score against Somerset on the road.

That same Somerset team featured a QB headed to UK and won the 2A title the next season over Mayfield. For those who want to say, “Yeah, but that is 2A football,” Mayfield beat Christian County last year, 72-8.

We were able to interview one of the players who lost that night in Somerset to the late Robbie Lucas’s Briar Jumpers. Blane Hardin finished his career at LCA in the Fall of 2018 and went on to be a very skilled and valuable member of Centre College’s defensive front.

[Coach Atch is] an X’s and O’s savant who always maximizes the talents of his players

Blane Hardin, DL at LCA and then Centre College
Blane Hardin

Hardin told KPGFootball, “[Coach Atch is] an X’s and O’s savant who always maximizes the talent of his players. His teams are always in the best shape and play with relentless effort.”

Watching Hardin’s play at Centre, the aspects of “…great shape and relentless effort…” remained a mainstay throughout college for the energetic edge presence. These high school lessons served him well as a college player.

Coach Atch went next to Bullitt East, a 6A team in the same district with Male High, for the start of the 2019 season. Bullitt East had posted a 3-8 mark in 2018. Like LCA, the Chargers fortunes would vastly improve as soon as Coach Atch unloaded the family’s moving van.

The Chargers (6A) were 8-4 Atchley’s third year at the helm and won the title the very next year

KHSAA statistical website

Under Coach Atch’s guidance, the Chargers went 5-6, 4-6, and 8-4. The next year, in 2022, Bullitt East finished 14-1 and beat Male High in the 6A title game (28-27) in route to a championship.

Coach Atch

Those are two programs, one a 2A which routinely competes with all comers regardless of enrollment and the other a 6A program now routinely in discussion for supremacy largely owing to Coach Atch’s efforts, which Atchley built into contenders. Can he do it at Christian County. Piece of cake.

“There is tremendous talent walking the hallways at both high schools fielding football teams in the Hopkinsville/Christian County community,” Atchley told KPGFootball. “Anyone unaware of this hasn’t been following the sport around Kentucky very long.

The key to actualizing success at any program is to get kids out for football by promising the staff will develop them sufficiently to achieve both their academic and athletic goals

Coach Atch
Goble, Standing

Atchley continued, “The key to actualizing success at any program is to get kids out for football by promising the staff will develop them sufficiently to achieve both their academic and athletic goals. We’re going to build better men with brighter futures bent on success like used to happen around this program routinely and like these men, and their communities, deserve.”

Perhaps the pièce de résistance comes from Christian County’s Hall of Fame football coach, Dan Goble. Goble was an innovator in his days at the helm, with the program meeting unparalleled success under his guidance and exhibiting an athletic and fast brand of play not known to that era of football.

I commend the search committee and particularly Kevin Crider, the school's Principal, for conducting a thorough and diligent search for the best fit for this program

HOF Football Coach, Dan Goble

Coach Goble told KPGFootball the following: “I commend the search committee and particularly Kevin Crider, the school’s Principal, for conducting a thorough and diligent search for the best fit for this program. Many years of coaching have gifted me an eye for coaching talent.”

Goble concluded, “I believe they have gotten the right guy. As a former architect of this program, I could neither be any prouder nor more satisfied with this hire. I am excited for this program’s future.”

Well, that says it all for me.

This is Friday Night Fletch, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1420 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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