Warwick announced his resignation after Friday’s four-touchdown loss at East Columbus, citing an inability to hire assistant coaches and personal reasons.
Warwick is the third head football coaching casualty at South Robeson since 2007.
“I was blinded by my own ambition,” Warwick said. “I thought I could come in here, work 80 hours a week and turn this thing around but it didn’t happen.”
The Mustangs finished 0-11 this season and haven’t won a Three Rivers Conference game since 2009. In two seasons as coach, Warwick’s teams won one of 21 games. At season’s end, a total of 24 junior varsity and varsity players were associated with South Robeson’s football program. In August, Warwick says he had his pick of 75 guys.
“This program hasn’t had a winning season since 2001 and that was a 4-7,” Warwick said. “I got 18 months to transform them into a winner and I just couldn’t get it done. We had a lot of guys quit. It was a tough year.”
While most of Robeson County’s football teams have a handful of paid assistant coaches, Warwick had one in Rowland. Associate head coach Chris Simpson was the only non-volunteer on staff this season. Volunteer Tauris Baker called the plays on offense while junior varsity coach James Mack helped out with game preparation.
South Robeson athletic director Donnie Carter could not be reached for comment.
“It takes more than two guys to run a football program,” Warwick said. “It came down to me and Chris painting the field, washing the jerseys, cleaning the equipment, everything. It was a lot of work. Chris is one of the most loyal people I’ve ever met.”
Warwick estimates he has spent $3,600 out of his own pocket this season toward South Robeson’s program. As a varsity head coach with 15 years under his belt, Warwick’s stipend from the Public Schools of Robeson County only covers $3,125.
During two seasons in Rowland, Warwick oversaw the rebranding of a football fieldhouse, a revamped weight room and partnered with Baltimore Ravens star Vonta Leach in helping the Mustangs acquire new equipment to replace outdated shoulder pads and helmets.
“In comparing this program to a meal, you got to cook it in a crock pot,” Warwick said. “It can’t be slapped in a microwave for a 30-second heat up. It’s not a quick fix. That doesn’t work.”
Warwick thanked former South Robeson principal Mark Smith and current Purnell Swett athletic director Jerome Hunt for the opportunity he was given in the summer of 2009.
“Those two guys saw my vision and believed in it,” Warwick said.
Warwick isn’t sure of his next move but hasn’t ruled out a return to coaching.
“I can look at myself in the mirror and know I’ve done the best I could,” Warwick said. “I know my daughter will be happy she’ll get to see more of her daddy. I’ll apply for another head coaching job one day, I’m sure.”
More information will be available in Tuesday's print edition.
Staff writer Brad Crawford can be reached at (910) 272-6119 or at firstname.lastname@example.org