On May 8, former Charlestown football coach Jason Hawkins moved a handful of miles down the road.
Hawkins’ decision to move over to Silver Creek will certainly make the Pirates and Dragons one of the biggest rivalries in Southern Indiana football. The two teams will meet on Sept. 19 in what is expected to be an explosive contest.
Charlestown recently hired former Corydon Central head coach Darin Ward, causing more hurt and excitement throughout the Mid-Southern Conference.
Hawkins recently spent time answering questions about Charlestown’s and Silver Creek’s futures — and the percolating rivalry — from sports editor Greg Mengelt for the News and Tribune’s ongoing “On the Spot” feature.
Q: Are you worried at all about the spectacle that the Charlestown-Silver Creek game on Sept. 19 could become?
HAWKINS: “It’s always going to be a rivalry. It didn’t matter if I was the head coach at Charlestown or the head coach at Silver Creek. It’s probably going to be a little more heated the first couple years now, just because I decided to move over here. But that’s great. It’s going to be great for Clark County. It’s going to be a big game that week. Hopefully we’ll be able to compete at Charlestown’s level. It’s going to be fun.”
Q: What do you expect of the Charlestown program going forward under Darin Ward?
HAWKINS: “I think it’s a good hire. I think he’ll do a good job.”
Q: What do you expect of your former coaching staff — will they stay at Charlestown or move with you to Silver Creek?
HAWKINS: “No matter who [was] coach would be smart to keep every assistant I had. I wouldn’t have won as many games as I did, if I didn’t have the guys who were working under me. I owe a lot to them. It was a great staff.”
Q: What are your expectations of the Charlestown program in 2014 and going forward?
HAWKINS: “They’ll move on. Charlestown’s had good football teams for a long time. Me leaving’s not going to change that. Charlestown football is going to continue to keep rolling like it has in the past. Most of the offensive is back. They have a lot of good players back. I look for Charlestown to have a good football team and I wish them the best.”
Q: What will stick in your mind most when recalling your seven years at Charlestown?
HAWKINS: “It was a great seven years of my life. They gave me a great opportunity to become a head coach back in Indiana. I’m going to miss a lot of the players I coached. I had a lot of great kids come through there in the seven years. You hope, at the end of the day, they don’t hold the decision I made against me. I told the kids I’ll always be for them if they ever need anything. That’s the only regret of making a move like this. You’re going to miss the kids you’ve coached for years.”
Q: Did you imagine when you left Clarksville that one day schools would be fighting over you?
HAWKINS: “I don’t know. I wouldn’t say they’re fighting over me. I would say I was lucky to inherit great kids at Charlestown and put together a great staff and we did a great job in the seven years we were there. And now I have an opportunity to go to a great school with great people to work with and great kids. Hopefully we can get the Silver Creek program to where the Charlestown program is. That’s the main goal.”
Q: Being in 4A, do you start looking at Mid-Southern Conference championships as the first goal, or is the ultimate goal to become a tournament champion?
HAWKINS: “I would say the ultimate goal is to become a champion — it doesn’t matter conference or sectional. They’re both going to be tough to reach. It’s not going to happen overnight. We have to work hard and it’s going to be a process. It’s all going to depend on how we come together and how hard we work.”
Q: What have your learned about your new players in the short time you’ve had with them?
HAWKINS: “I’ve learned that they’re hungry and they work tremendously hard. They’re good kids and they want to be good.”
Part 1 of the News and Tribune’s exclusive Q&A with new Silver Creek head football coach Jason Hawkins ran May 13. A short interview was conducted with him Wednesday for an update on Charlestown’s hiring of Darin Ward.