A.J. Woods has been named the head football coach at Southeastern High School.
The Southeastern Local Schools Board of Education approved the hire at Tuesday night’s meeting, making him the 18th coach in program history.
Woods, 32, spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach under former Trojans head coach Payton Printz, serving as both offensive and defensive coordinator.
“I’m honored and excited,” Woods said. “It’s a great opportunity. As a grad, it’s good to be home. I’m extremely excited and honored.”
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Woods is a 2006 Southeastern graduate who played football, basketball and baseball for the Trojans. He also teaches fifth grade math at Miami View Elementary. Woods and his wife, Ashley, have two daughters, Audrey and Abby. He was previously the head coach at Graham, going 5-15 in two seasons in St. Paris.
Southeastern has qualified for the playoffs four times in its history, including a regional final appearance in 2001.
The Trojans haven’t advanced to the playoffs since 2009, the last time it had a winning record. Southeastern went 9-3 that season, advancing to the D-VI, Region 24 semifinals.
“We want to install a more traditional culture,” Woods said. “I’m looking forward to what we’ve got coming back. We’re going to get back to Trojan Football and get our program moving in the right direction. We had a few close games last year, but those games were decided by little things across the board.”
Printz resigned in December after going 10-20 in three seasons in South Charleston. The Trojans went 4-6 in Printz’s first season in 2017, the most wins the program had achieved since going 5-5 in 2012. They went 3-7 in each of the past two seasons.
Offensively, Woods hopes to return to Southeastern’s roots. The Trojans will run a hybrid Wing-T system, he said, moving away from a spread system. Southeastern will run multiple fronts on defense, he said.
“We want to stop the run defensively and we want to run the ball,” Woods said. “We’re going to go with more of a traditional look. We can still absolutely throw the ball when necessary, but it’s relying more on the run game than the passing game. We’ll be more traditional with our sets than we’ve been in a long time.”
A.J.’s father is longtime Southeastern baseball coach Rick Woods, who also served as an assistant football coach for more than two decades — meaning he’s been around the program since he was a child.
“I know a lot of the families here,” he said. “It makes a big difference just being from South Charleston and getting that support from the community.”
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