Cheryl M. Shuffler, Public Relations Officer with Burke County Public Schools released the following Tuesday morning announcing the hiring of Luke Little as the head football coach at Freedom High School in Morganton, NC. Little’s last day at Whiteville is reportedly March 20.
Morganton, NC – Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Freedom High School Principal Felicia Simmons announces Luke Little is slated to be the Patriots new head football coach. Little has 17 years of teaching and coaching experience and has been a high school head football coach since 2007. He comes to Freedom after six seasons as head football coach at Whiteville High School in Columbus County, North Carolina.
Little said the region, the tradition at Freedom and the Burke County school system attracted him to Freedom High. “We are excited,” Little said. “The sky’s the limit for us, and my family and I are looking for a successful transition on and off the field.”
Simmons said, “I am excited about Coach Little’s stability, organizational goals and his vision for the Patriot football program. He has a passion for students to not only succeed as great athletes but also as great citizens.”
Freedom Athletic Director Casey Rogers said, “Coach Little will bring a foundation of toughness and stability to Freedom High School football, which is something our football program has been looking for. He has a proven track record, and he’s a guy I think our kids will respond well to and play hard for. Good things are in store for us.”
Little played linebacker and running back at West Stanly High School before going on to play college baseball at Appalachian State University. A shoulder injury sidelined his football playing career. Little completed his bachelor’s degree in recreation management at ASU and in addition to coaching, teaches physical education.
As a high school head football coach at Whiteville and South Stanly high schools, Little has a combined record of 88 wins and 55 loses. At both schools he turned around losing football programs. Little’s coaching experience also includes assistant football coach and head baseball coach at West Brunswick High School.
Whiteville High School’s football team was conference champions four times under Little between 2013 and 2017, and Little was named 3 Rivers Conference and Columbus County Coach of the Year four times.
Little’s father, Mark Little, is a retired, long-time high school football coach, and the two coached together at Whiteville and against each other in Stanly County.
“My dad taught me how to treat my players and the importance of having a relationship with the kids,” Little said. “I believe in building good, strong relationships and treating each other like family. When you do that, the wins and loses take care of themselves.”
Little said he has great expectations from his players. He said, “My teams are disciplined and well behaved on and off the field. We are hardnosed and give a lot of effort. As far as the Xs and Os, we will be well balanced with the run-pass game. I want people when they leave the game from watching us on Friday nights to say, ‘That is a well-disciplined, well coached team.’” For Little, it’s not all about his players’ work on the field. “I will keep up with their grades and check in with their teachers on their academics and their behavior. That’s the main goal. That they succeed in the classroom. That they have a background of a strong work ethic and are prepared for life after high school whether they are going on to college or the military or the workforce.” Little also expects his players to be disciplined outside of school and ballgames. “Their actions are a direct reflection of me and this football team and the high school.”
Little will be moving to Morganton with his wife, Nikki, who is a teacher, and their three children. He said, “I have a 13-year-old son who is very athletic and a fifth-grade son who also is athletic and a daughter in kindergarten who is our biggest cheerleader on the sidelines.”
Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “I appreciate the Freedom High School administration for taking their time in the selection process and using their professional judgement to hire a teacher and a coach that will have the best interest of our kids in mind.”
Freedom is hosting a meet-and-greet for Coach Little and the community at the school in the teaching theater from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Luke Little’s coaching highlights include:
January 2012 – present – Head Football Coach at Whiteville High School
53-24 overall record (Previous 5 years Whiteville was 27 wins 30 loses)
Conference Champions – 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017
3 Rivers Conference and Columbus County Coach of the Year 4 times.
August 2007 – December 2011 – Head Football Coach at South Stanly High School
35 – 31 overall record (Previous 5 years South Stanly was 28-37)
August 2006 – June 2007 – West Brunswick High School
Varsity Football Offensive Coordinator, JV Head Baseball Coach and Physical Education Teacher
August 2002 – June 2005 – Whiteville High School
Varsity Offensive Coordinator, Varsity Assistant Baseball Coach and Physical Education Teacher
August 2001 – June 2002. West Brunswick High School
Assistant Varsity Football and Head JV Baseball Coach