Clayton, N.C. — Clayton High School’s next head football coach will come from the western half of the state.
During a press conference at the school on Tuesday afternoon, principal Dr. Bennett Jones announced the school has hired Shane Handy to take over the school’s football program.
Handy has spent the last 12 seasons as the head football coach at Randleman High School in Randolph County. His teams have posted winning seasons in nine of his 12 seasons, including the last four.
With an overall record of 95-53 at Randleman, Handy’s teams over the last three years have posted a record of 36-4. The best season under Handy came last fall when the Tigers posted a 13-1 record, went 6-0 in conference play for the third straight year, earned the No. 1 seed in the 2AA state playoffs, and lost to Salisbury in the eastern regional final by a 14-7 score.
In 1998, Handy also spent one season as the head coach at South Davidson High School. He was also an assistant coach at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in 2015.
Handy earned his degree in physical education from Guilford College in 1992, then finished his master’s degree at Delta State University in 1995.
Handy will take over a Clayton program that experienced a good deal of adversity in 2019.
The Comets’ football team was penalized by the N.C. High School Athletic Association for an illegal practice last spring. In June, Johnston County Public Schools opened an eligibility investigation into the team, which quickly grew in scope to include other sports and non-athletes.
During the investigation, head football coach Hunter Jenks resigned from his position the week of the first regular season game. Assistant coach Robert Senseney was named the interim head coach before the Comets’ season opener at Richmond High School.
Eventually, the school system cleared the Clayton football team and coaches of any wrongdoing in the eligibility investigation.
Clayton posted a 6-6 overall record this past season, including a 4-1 mark in the Greater Neuse River 3A Conference. The Comets advanced to the state playoffs where they lost to Southeast Guilford in the first round.
Clayton has finished at least .500 every season since Jenks took over in 2016. The best season under Jenks came in 2017 when the comets were 13-1.