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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Bob Sphire Named New Head Football Coach at Highlands

Bob Sphire. Photo credit: David McGregor. 

The new head coach of the storied Highlands Bluebirds football team has been hired. 

Highlands announced today that Bob Spire will leave his program from near the Florida/Georgia line to coach Highlands next year. 

Sphire is a well-known name in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Meade County native is returning to Kentucky after spending the previous 15 seasons in the Peach State.

Sphire has been a head coach for 32 seasons and another two of the old indoor football league Lexington Horsemen. His overall record is listed as 300-106 at his most recent job at Camden County High School located in Kingsland, Georgia not far from the Atlantic Ocean.

"Growing up in Kentucky and coaching in this state for as long as I did, I know first hand that Highlands is one of the best schools academically and athletically in the Commonwealth. It's tradition of excellence speaks for itself," Sphire said. "The football program is built around champions and championships and I can't wait to work with the tremendous young men in the program."

Read more about One Highland here. 

Sphire earned his first head coaching job at Knott County Central in eastern Kentucky in 1989. He coached the Patriots for two seasons before starting the program at Lexington Catholic in 1992 and coached the team to a 2005 state championship.  Sphire also led North Gwinnett to runner-up finishes in the Georgia state playoffs in 2007 and 2013.  One of his former players at Lexington Catholic, Wes Caldwell, is the current athletic director at Highlands High School.

"This is a fantastic day for Highlands High School and the great people that make up the Bluebirds football community.  We have hired a coach with a championship pedigree and a plan to get us back there,” Highlands Principal Matt Bertasso said. "Coach Sphire does a fantastic job of getting his players ready to play at their optimum potential and I am excited for a championship culture to be restored in Fort Thomas."

The 2005 team won the first of two state championships in school history finishing a school-record 14-1. LexCath beat Highlands, 17-0 in the Class AAA region finals that season.

"It’s amazing how life comes full circle," Caldwell said. "I know exactly the kind of coach, mentor and leader that Coach Sphire will be for our student-athletes, because he has had a profound influence on my life to this day.  We have hired a tremendous coach and leader of young men to guide our program."

From there, Sphire moved to North Gwinett High School located in Suwanee located to the northeast of Atlanta. Sphire led the Bulldogs to two state runner-up finished in 2007 in Class AAAAA and 2013 in Class AAAAAA. Those were the largest classes in Georgia in both seasons.

Sphire took the job at Camden County in 2017. His best season in four seasons came at 8-3 in 2019. 

Sphire and his wife Marian have two children in Danielle and Hayden. They also have a granddaughter named Gigi.  Sphire holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University, a Master of Arts in Education and an M.A. in Physical Education from Western Kentucky University, and Sphire earned his Rank 1 in Teacher Education from WKU. 


During his career, Sphire earned the honor of coaching in the prestigious US Army All-American Game three times, as either a head coach or assistant coach.  And at North Gwinnett, Sphire’s team was ranked as high as #11 nationally in the USA Today Super 25 poll.


"We are going to work very, very hard at Highlands and play an exciting and physical brand of football," Sphire said. "Our community will be very proud of them as players, but most importantly as young men who will go on to do great things in their lives."

The hire has already started to make ripples throughout the state. Co-host of Kentucky Sports Radio, Ryan Lemond, said it was a homerun hire.

Sphire said he plans to work with the returning players starting March 1. Highlands scrimmages Louisville Male on Aug. 6. 

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