After 13 seasons as the Apollo Hawks football team head coach, Zack Threadgill announced he is stepping down from the position.
“I have been doing this for 13 years as head coach and 15 overall and I don’t think there is one thing to trace down this decision,” Threadgill said during a phone interview.
“My life has changed a lot since starting, including getting married and I now have twin 5-year-old girls. I want to step back and take a break.”
During his 13 seasons in charge, Threadgill finished 82-57 (.589) and 3-7 in the playoffs with on region championship (2010) and five region runner-ups (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017).
“I go through the same evaluation every year and I always wanted to make sure I was 100 percent committed each year because of the time standpoint,” Threadgill said.
“As a head coach, you need to be 100 percent, especially if you expect the kids to give you the same. I just felt like now was the time to step back and be with my family.”
Threadgill said the decision was made solely for his family, and he will remain as a teacher at Apollo as long as possible.
“This is just a personal decision, nothing more,” Threadgill said. “I made the decision over the Christmas break and I told the kids recently. The talk went great. I have a wonderful relationship with these kids and, while it wasn’t easy to tell them, I think they understood my decision very well. I love these kids and will miss the interaction with them.”
Threadgill said he and his coaching staff have strived to develop a program the community could be proud of. He said he uses athletics as a way to build the athletes into strong young men.
“No matter what happened on the field, our goal was when we walked off the field our heads were held high and we were proud of our effort,” Threadgill said.
“He said he based his program on six rules the kids always lived up to: caring, citizenship, fairness, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness.
“I hope the kids continued to use the motivation we instilled in them to move forward and I know we did the best we could every time,” Threadgill said.
“The kids and coaches bought into what we believed that we would do that best we could and, no matter what the scoreboard would read, we wanted to know we work the hardest.”
He led the Hawks to the playoffs in seven of his 13 seasons, advancing to the quarterfinals three times (2009, 2010 and 2012).
“I know I don’t have any regrets, but there are calls I would love to have back,” he said. “When you look in the rearview mirror, you always see things you wish you could have changed. You can never hang onto any mistakes but use things as motivation and move forward, and I just know we did the best we could every time out.”
He added the one thing he will miss most is the kids, administration and staff at Apollo High School, and the support they gave to his program.
“I have been so honored to be in this position for so long,” he added. “The interaction with all the kids, coaches, teachers, faculty, administration and parents has been amazing over the years. I hope we built a great vibe here and they keep it going.”
During his first season as head coach, Threadgill coached future National Football League star and Apollo graduate Prince Amukamara of the Chicago Bears. Amukamara won a Super Bowl when he played with the New York Giants in 2012.
“(Threadgill) is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Amukamara said during a phone interview. “One thing I appreciated about him is that he treated me the same as any other player. There was a time I had missed practice and he made me run the whole practice. I hope this is a sabbatical of some sort. I still believe he should still be coaching, especially in the college area and or pros.”
Threadgill said he owes his success to the coaches and kids.
“I love Apollo. I am a Hawk for life,” Threadgill said. “But, if it was not for all the great kids, staff, and administration and parents assisting me, I would not be where I am today.”
While Threadgill said he is “taking a break,” he would not say he is retiring from coaching entirely.
“This is a break from being a head coach for me, nothing more,” Threadgill said. “I cannot say I am 100 percent confident I am not going to coach again. In fact, I am sure I will, but right now I know this was the right time for me to step back from head coaching.”
Amukamara said Threadgill is a key reason for his success at the next level.
“As a player, that’s easy he’s one of the biggest reasons I got into college, from encouraging me in taking and retaking ACT and SAT tests,” Amuakamara said. “As a player, he’s one of my best friends still 13 years later and he was in my wedding. I’ve called him after all my games in college and the pros.”
Amukamara said he hopes Threadgill does return to coaching because of his love for the players.
“I would love to see him coach again because his passion for kids especially as men is unmatched,” Amukamara said. “He has a gift for football. He still loves the game. I really want to see him get a shot in the college or pro area. I really believe he can do it. From being in both environments and having conversations with him he’s as smart as any coach I’ve been around. He knows ball!”