For 2nd time in 10 months, Owen hires new football coach

James Crabtree-Hannigan
Black Mountain News
Zachary Gibson, previously an assistant at Pisgah, is Owen's new head football coach.

For the second time in 10 months, Owen has hired a new head football coach.

Zachary Gibson, who spent the past four seasons as an assistant at Pisgah, is taking over the Warhorses after Brint Russell's resignation earlier this month..

"Grateful doesn't even begin to express how I feel to be in this position," Gibson said in a press release. "I have admired this place from afar for a long time- the tradition, the excellence, and a community that loves football on Friday nights as much as I do."

Russell resigned after one season leading his alma mater. He and his family are relocating after his wife received a job offer in Nashville, according to The Valley Echo.

Prior to arriving in Canton, Gibson spent three years (2016-18) as an assistant at Asheville High and three years at Enka (2014-16). He graduated from UNC-Asheville in 2017 and will teach health and physical education  at Owen.

“He understands mountain football as a native of Buncombe County and a student at Mars Hill and UNCA," Owen principal Meg Turner said. "His knowledge of the game was acquired from some of the mountain's best, most recently Coach (Brett) Chappell at Pisgah."

Under a new regime and running a new offense last season, the Warhorses went 4-7 overall and 3-3 in conference play, snagging the Western Highlands' 2A playoff spot but being bounced in the first round 55-3 by eventual state champion Shelby.

Owen loses many significant contributors from that team, including Eli Lanter, Briggs Barger and Cadyn Cook. The last time the Warhorses finished better than third in their conference was 2015, Kenny Ford's last season at the helm.

"From my playing days, to becoming a coach, and further back than that, Owen High School has always set high standards by being a special place," Gibson said. "Our expectations will be high, but our commitment to the process will be higher.”