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Burton football coach Caudill sheds ‘interim’ tag

Kevin Mays • Apr 15, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Jacob Caudill no longer has “interim” as part of his title at J.I. Burton.

After serving last season as the interim football coach, Caudill is now officially the head coach of the Raiders’ program.

“It is a dream come true being named the head football coach at John I. Burton,” the 2008 Burton graduate said.

Caudill became interim head coach shortly before the start of the 2019 season after the Norton School Board suspended then-football coach Jim Adams. Adams’ contract was terminated earlier this year.

“I grew up watching Burton football and playing at Burton,” Caudill said. “I love our school, love our kids and love our community. Norton is a unique place and growing up here you see how special it is and how tight-knit it is.

“Being the head football coach in a place like Norton is very unique and very special.”

Caudill’s Raiders went 10-3 last season, a run that included a 10-game winning streak, a Cumberland District championship and a trip to the Region 1D title game.

After spending seven years as an assistant coach at the school, Caudill knows the level of expectations for the program.

“The people in the community that pack the stands on Friday nights want success and like to see our kids succeed. So they do a lot for our school and our school programs. And I know that isn’t always the case,” Caudill said. “My take on it is once a Raider, always a Raider. And you see so much of that when people are always willing to help out and support the school and the program. It’s very special.”

Caudill has found success not just on the football field.

He took over as coach of the school’s baseball program last spring and was looking forward to another strong season before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

His Raiders opened the 2019 season 0-4 before finding their groove. They finished 13-11 and made their first Region 1D tournament appearance since 2013. They also improved their team batting average from .123 over the first four games to .308 by season’s end.

WELLS TAKES OVER

Thad Wells, who graduated from Richlands in 2005, is the new coach of the Blue Tornado football program.

Wells was hired after a two-year coaching stint at Mooresville, North Carolina, during which his teams went 16-10.

Wells coached at Blacksburg prior to going to Mooresville and led the Bruins to the 2016 VHSL Class 3 championship.

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