The Northwestern 3A-4a Conference went through another coaching change Friday. Rob Bliss, the athletic director and boys' basketball coach at Fred T. Foard High has stepped down.
He's been replaced by long-time assistant coach Andy Hodges, a Bliss assistant for parts of nine years. Hodges, an Appalachian State University graduate (1982), worked with Bliss for six years at East Burke; he rejoined Bliss at Foard for three seasons beginning in 2011-12. Football coach Tom Harper will take over as the school's AD.
Bliss was 53-28 with the Tigers the last three years. The Tigers were 16-11 last season. He's accepted a new job as principal at Maiden. Bliss is 288-171 during his career at East Burke, West Henderson and Foard.
The Tigers went 13-12 in his first season with the Tigers, who had won all of five games the previous two years, which included a 22=game losing streak in the NW3A-4A. Bliss led Foard to a 24-5 record, a conference championship, a league tournament title, and the Class 3A sectional finals in his second season.
Hodges becomes the Tigers' fifth head coach since 1987-88. Hodges inherits a veteran team that returns four starters -- all rising seniors -- including nine of the 13 players on the opening night varsity roster were juniors.Foard finished third in the NW3A-4A Conference and reached the conference tournament final as a No.3 seed before they were eliminated by Hickory in the opening round of the state playoffs.