ST. PAULS — Former Lumberton High football coach Mike Setzer was named the interim head coach of the St. Pauls football team on Wednesday, making it a second time as the coach of the Bulldogs.
Setzer had been an assistant coach for the Bulldogs since the beginning of the year. He was head coach at Lumberton for four seasons before that.
He takes over for Ernest King, who was named Westover’s head coach in June after spending two seasons with the Bulldogs, with his team going 11-13 in those two years.
“I’m very excited,” Setzer said. “St. Pauls is the school that gave me my first coaching opportunity.”
Setzer previously coached at St. Pauls from 2004 to 2007. He was named Robeson County Coach of the Year twice in that span. He went on to coach at his alma-mater West Caldwell for two years, where his teams went 1-21.
Setzer then moved on to Lumberton, where he compiled a 17-28 record and guided the Pirates to a first-round playoff appearance in 2015.
“The funny thing now is some of the kids I’m coaching, I coached their dads,” Setzer said.
The interim tag means Setzer is not guaranteed to keep the position after the 2018 season. St. Pauls administrators will decide what the next step in the hiring process is after the season is over, according to Athletic Director Matthew Hunt.
Setzer doesn’t have much time to get settled in with his new position. The Bulldogs play their first game of the season on Aug. 17 at E.E. Smith.
“We hit the ground running,” Setzer said of his team’s preparations for the season.
Setzer said assistant coaches Eric Murphy, Chansey Canady and Calvin Randle, among others, have been helpful in guiding the players through their summer workouts.
The Bulldogs finished 2017 with a record of 5-7. Quarterback Noah Wheeler, who led the team in passing and rushing yards, has graduated and rising sophomore Hunter Bryant is currently the frontrunner to replace him.
“We’re going to put him in big situations to make him as successful as possible,” Setzer said.
Setzer said he was impressed with the rigorous weightlifting regime King created for the team, and he plans on continuing to focus on those exercises.
He also said he appreciated St. Pauls Principal Jason Suggs giving him an opportunity after his stint at Lumberton.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.