Oakman’s Hastings resigns

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 1/15/19

For the first time in a decade Oakman High School is looking for a head football coach.Mark Hastings stepped down from his post on Monday, two months after leading the Wildcats to the playoffs for …

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Oakman’s Hastings resigns

Posted

For the first time in a decade Oakman High School is looking for a head football coach.

Mark Hastings stepped down from his post on Monday, two months after leading the Wildcats to the playoffs for the eighth straight season. 

In 10 years, Hastings posted a 71-45 record, winning eight playoff games. The school had won a total of seven playoff games prior to his arrival.

Under Hastings Oakman put together three consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in school history from 2012-14 and the Wildcats advanced to the third round of the playoffs in 2016 for just the third time in school history. Hastings led Oakman to region titles in 2012 and 2014. The 2014 team set a school record, scoring 515 points (an average of 42.9 points per game). A total of 23 Oakman players were named to the All-State Team during his tenure. 

“We accomplished a lot of things here,” Hastings said. “The consistency is the thing I’m most proud of, especially compared to the history of Oakman football. Playoff wins seven years in a row — that’s a pretty good accomplishment.

“I was always proud that we developed our own kids. We got almost no transfers up to the last year or so. We got the kids in middle school and developed them to JV and the varsity team. We had some games where it looked like the other team was bigger and better. I would say, ‘Don’t count these Oakman boys out.’”

Oakman went 5-6 in 2018 in a season defined by a wall collapse prior to a first-round playoff game at Pike County. The incident resulted in five Oakman players being transported to the hospital. Hastings had to take the team back to Pike County three days later in a 21-8 loss.

Hastings needed three years to turn the Oakman program around. After winning four games over the first two years, the Wildcats won eight games in 2011, starting their run of playoff appearances. 

“I think he did a great job,” Oakman Principal Patrick Gann said. “He’s been to the playoffs eight straight years. He’s one of the best coaches we’ve ever had at Oakman. We wish him well. He had a good run and has been really good to our kids.”

Gann, who says he has already received 30  applications for the head coaching position, said a committee will be formed and the top four applicants will be interviewed. 

Hastings plans to be back on the sidelines soon, but has no idea of a landing spot. 

“I obviously have a lot of experience. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot. Hopefully the right situation will come up — a place where I feel like I fit in well,” he said.