Hardin resigns at Porter Ridge
The man who built Porter Ridge High into a football powerhouse had a hard time letting it go Tuesday.
Coach Blair Hardin said he decided Monday he was going to take the head coaching position at Freedom High in Morganton. Shortly after, he started dreading telling the players who helped him reach the 4A state championship game the past two seasons.
He held his last team meeting at Porter Ridge at 2:35 on Tuesday.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever done," Hardin said. "I just wanted them to know how much they meant to me and how much they've done for the community and the school. I'm proud of the way they've handled themselves, for who they are and what they've done. It was a real emotional time."
Hardin's Pirates won or shared the Southern Carolina Conference title the past four seasons. After reaching the state semifinals in 2010, Porter Ridge made back-to-back trips to the 4A title game.
The Pirates compiled a 40-5 record during that three-year stretch.
Hardin, 30, was 50-18 in his five seasons at Porter Ridge, including an 11-4 record in the postseason.
"The success we've had at Porter Ridge has been great to be a part of," Hardin said. "The most difficult part is leaving behind the great relationships I've built withing the community and the school and with the kids and the coaching staff.
"I feel like I've hit every wall at Daytona today saying good bye to so many people I care about."
Freedom lost to Concord (27-20) in the 3A state semifinals last season and finished 12-3.
Hardin is replacing Mike Helms, who spent the last four seasons as Freedom's head coach. Helms is the first coach in school history to put together at least 10 wins in three consecutive seasons.