A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NewCath is the next stop in Stephen Lickert’s high school football coaching career

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Stephen Lickert is steering his high school coaching career in a new direction once again by taking charge of the Newport Central Catholic football program.

Stephen Lickert, head football coach at Campbell County the last seven years, is taking charge of the Newport Central Catholic program.

Lickert was officially named head coach of the Thoroughbreds on Wednesday. This is the third time in his career that he has left one head coaching job to take another one.

For the last seven years, he ran the football program at Campbell County. Before that, he was head coach at Holmes for four years and head coach at Dayton for three years.

“I contacted (NewCath) and it was more just inquiring (about the position) than anything else,” Lickert said. “Then we got to talking. I met with them and they liked what I brought to the table and I liked what they were saying, and we kind of made a match.”

Lickert’s career coaching record is 74-82 in 14 seasons. At Campbell County, his teams compiled a 37-45 record, won two Class 6A district championships and went 5-7 in state playoff games.  The Camels also had a 5-2 record in their annual regular-season game against NewCath while he was there.

Lickert is replacing Dan Wagner, who agreed to step down as NewCath’s head coach after the 2017 season. In the five years that he was in charge of the program, the Thoroughbreds compiled a 40-29 record and made it to the Class 2A state championship final three times.

We were fortunate to talk to several good, qualified candidates interested in the coaching position,” NewCath athletic director Jimmy Ryan said in a press release. “We believe Stephen’s coaching experience and proven success stood out and feel he will make for a smooth transition for our football program.”

Stephen Lickert

Lickert plans to meet with NewCath football players this week. He knows there are several key players returning from last season’s 6-6 team that lost to Glasgow, 27-20, in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. The Thoroughbreds have won five state championship trophies in the history of the program and the new coach wants to add to that collection.

“They’ve got a tradition that’s unmatched by many,” Lickert said. “They’ve proven that they can win state championships there and that’s intriguing to any football coach.”

A 1997 graduate of Highlands High School, Lickert played football on a state championship and state runner-up team with the Bluebirds. He continued his career Georgetown College and was a member of the Tigers’ 2000 NAIA national championship team.

He was named District Coach of the Year at each of the three previous schools where he coached. He won the  Northern Kentucky Football Coaches Association’s Owen Hauck Award while he was at Dayton and at Holmes for successfully turning those programs around.

“I feel like my staffs and I have always done a good job of getting the best out of our kids and getting them to buy into what we’re selling,” he said.

Lickert said he told the Campbell County football players he was leaving the program on Wednesday and expects them to do well with the coach who replaces him.

“Any time there’s a change it’s tough on the kids and it’s tough on the coach, too, leaving a place you’re familiar with.” he said. “But they have a lot of talent and they’re going to be fine.”

Lickert said he will not be a faculty member at NewCath next school year. He may continue teaching at Campbell County or look for an administrative position. “This will allow me to continue coaching while pursuing other opportunities within education,” he said.

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