East Carter football coach

New East Carter football coach Tim Champlin sits alongside his wife, Megan, and son, Corbin Lee, on Thursday afternoon in front of a crowd in the East Carter High School library.

GRAYSON Tim Champlin isn’t immediately concerned with turning East Carter into a champion.

The Raiders’ new head football coach is content with using “little victories” as starting points to success.

According to Troy Criswell, East Carter’s athletic director, the Raiders seem ready to call this hire a major win.

Criswell said the hiring committee outlined three qualities the school’s next coach must possess: a focus on academics, enthusiasm and character. Upon the completion of interviewing five candidates, Criswell said “we kept coming back to one individual.”

East Carter introduced the 27-year-old as the coach on Thursday afternoon in the East Carter High School library.

“I’m young, but I’m not going to guarantee any (specific amount of) wins,” said Champlin, cracking a smile. “I’m looking to be competitive next year. We’ll take little victories at first and we’ll build on them.”

Champlin takes over a position vacated by Zack Moore. Moore, now a Morehead State assistant, resigned after four seasons in November.

“I thought coach Moore was heading in the right direction,” Champlin said. “The man might be the smartest X’s and O’s coach I’ve ever been around. … I’m excited about continuing where he left off.”

Champlin graduated from Pikeville in 2006. He ran track and played football and basketball as a Panther before playing one season of football at the University of Virginia-Wise before completing his college education at Marshall in 2012. He is now working on his Master’s degree through Morehead State, he said.

Champlin served as an assistant coach at Greenup County (2009-10), Rowan County (2011) and Fairview (2012-13), where was also the head track coach, before becoming the Raiders’ running backs/linebackers coach last season.

Champlin adopted three C’s from Mike Jackson, who coached Champlin at Pikeville.

“Be courageous, be committed and be a man of character,” he said. “You can’t be afraid. You can’t do anything and not be committed.

“I’m going to try to spread my Christian faith,” he added. “God tells us to go out and spread his faith. … That will help build our character.”

While he admitted his players will dictate his on-field approach, Champlin wants to “attack, whether it’s running the ball or throwing the ball.

“I have some ideas in my head that I want to do and have had past experience with,” he continued. “But I’ve gotta get with this team and figure out what fits them best.”

Offseason weight-room numbers have varied between 35 and 45 prospective players, said the coach.

It’s been nearly a full decade since East Carter last turned in a winning football season. Donald Damron guided the Raiders to an 8-4 mark in 2005, which is also the last time East Carter won a playoff game.

The KHSAA reclassification for 2015-18 pushes East Carter into Class 4A, District 8, which includes Ashland, Johnson Central, Boyd County, Rowan County and Greenup County.

“It’s tough coming into this district, and it’s tough coming off an 0-10 season going into that district,” Champlin said. “We have to find ways to win little battles.”

Champlin is uncertain who will comprise the rest of the Raiders’ staff at this point, he said.

“I’m looking forward to building this program from the JFL to varsity level,” Champlin said to the crowd gathered in the library. “Get prepared because we have a lot of work to do. Notice, I said we. We all have to work together for the betterment of this program.”

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664. Follow @DindependentQB on Twitter.

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