Loosemore Leaves Cedar Ridge for Scotland County

Updated: July 11, 2018

Scott Loosemore finally has a full-time teaching job. It just won’t be in Hillsborough.

Loosemore, who has coached the Cedar Ridge varsity football team since 2014, told his team on Tuesday night he is leaving to become a running backs/tight ends coach at Scotland County.

Loosemore, who accepted the job last Tuesday, held off the announcement until the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s dead period ended on Sunday.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” said Loosemore. “It was very hard to do. The kids were fine. I’ve got a lot of emails from parents and the majority of them understand what I did.”

The announcement came exactly three weeks after the Orange County School System announced that Cedar Ridge wouldn’t field a varsity football team this fall due to a lack of players and concerns about player safety.

It is expected that former Carrboro head coach Melvin Griffin, who served as Loosemore’s defensive coordinator last season, will be the head coach for Cedar Ridge’s junior varsity squad, which will begin play next month.

Loosemore will move to Laurinburg to teach social studies in two weeks with his wife, Karen. As far as football participation goes, Loosemore will go from one extreme to another. Last season, Scotland County went 12-2 and played for the 4A State Championship, where they lost to Charlotte Harding 30-22 at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem. The Fighting Scots captured the Eastern Regional Championship by beating Wilmington Hoggard 47-46 in overtime.

The move ends an emotional roller coaster ride for Loosemore, who has worked to attract players to the Cedar Ridge program while he hoped to get a full-time job, dealt with the system’s decision to not field a varsity team, and worked to overcome the death of his father last spring.

“I would consider this one of the top five jobs in the state, if not one of the top two jobs,” said Loosemore about Scotland County. “I’ve been down there a couple of times in the last two weeks. To be honest, it’s kind of like going to Friday Night Lights. The town down there eats and breaths football. For me, it’s a great opportunity to rejuvenate myself and rebuild my resume.”

Loosemore will find plenty of talent waiting for him as a running backs coach. Scotland lost Zamir White, who committed to Georgia after rushing for 2,086 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2017. His expected replacement, rising senior Syheim McQueen, already has college offers from South Carolina and N.C. State.

Loosemore told Principal Heather Blackmon and Athletic Director Andy Simmons that he was leaving last week. He has been commuting from Holly Springs while serving as an teaching assistant to Pam Schism. Loosemore had been looking for a permanent teaching position for several years. It became a hot topic among many Cedar Ridge parents, who wanted to keep Loosemore in Hillsborough.

Loosemore learned about the Scotland County position from N.C. State Director of High School Relations Henry Trevathan, who was an assistant with Loosemore at Elon University. Two weeks ago, Trevathan told Scotland head coach Richard Bailey that Loosemore was looking for a full-time job while they were at a camp in Raleigh. Bailey, from the practice field, called Loosemore to inquire. By the end of June, Bailey extended a job offer.

The announcement of Cedar Ridge not fielding a varsity team on June 19th led to a town hall meeting the following Monday, which included Blackmon, Loosemore, Simmons and Orange County School District Athletic Director Bob Hill. To quell concerns, Blackmon immediately announced at the beginning of the session that Loosemore would be the team’s football coach for next academic year, which received the most positive reaction of the night. When pressed by parents about Loosemore getting a full-time teaching job, Blackmon was non-committal.

A half-hour after the town hall started at Cedar Ridge, the Orange County School Board began a meeting at Gravelly Hills Middle School in Efland, which kept Cedar Ridge boosters from formally speaking to the board. Nonetheless, several parents drove over to the meeting, waited until it ended and confronted several members about the state of the football program and Loosemore’s employment status. There were several animated discussions.

“The parents have been a tremendous support system,” said Loosemore. “There’s a couple of things that I really feel bad about that made this decision as hard as it was was the parents’ support. The parents have been very supportive. The kids, even the few that we have, have really worked hard. They’ve really brought into what I’ve tried to coach them to do. Leaving the kids and those parents who have had my back is going to be extremely hard.”

Loosemore leaves a job he was never supposed to have to begin with. He came over to Cedar Ridge in 2014 as the offensive coordinator. Former Burlington Cummings head coach Steve Johnson was supposed to be the new head coach to replace Clay Jones, but Johnson suffered a thoracic aortic aneurysm just days before training camp was supposed to start. Loosemore inherited the interim head coach role while many players spent half the season wondering if Johnson would ever be back.

He never did come back. Loosemore became head coach permanently in 2015 and spent the next three years having more ups-and-downs than an Empire State Building elevator. He led Cedar Ridge to a 6-5 record in 2016, its first winning season in six years, but it was bittersweet. The Red Wolves were barred from going to the state playoffs after a sideline fight on the final play of a game against Riverside in September. Loosemore appealed the decision by the NCHSAA, but the school cameraman shut down the camera before the fight erupted. All Loosemore had as evidence was a still photo. The appeal was denied.

Competing against crosstown rival Orange, Loosemore worked hard to recruit players from nearby middle schools. He held two signing ceremonies inside the Cedar Ridge cafeteria, the most recent in April. There were Saturday workouts with potential Red Wolves. Loosemore was also a mainstay at most Cedar Ridge athletic events, where he tried to encourage players to try out for football, and it worked to a degree. Numerous Red Wolves baseball players made the varsity team last season, even allowing Cedar Ridge to field a junior varsity squad for the first time in Loosemore’s tenure.

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