Football: Walnut Ridge coach Byron Mattox steps down after 15 seasons
When he took over as Walnut Ridge football coach in 2006, Byron Mattox inherited a program that had gone 8-12 over the previous two seasons after making three consecutive playoff appearances from 2001-03.
The Scots improved from 2-8 in 2005 to 4-6 in their first year under Mattox and haven’t posted a losing record since, including going 6-3 this fall in what proved to be his final season as coach.
Mattox announced Dec. 2 that he was stepping down after a 15-year tenure that included five playoff appearances and a 106-42 record.
“I just thought it was a good time,” Mattox said. “My sons are going to be juniors next year and my daughter is in sixth grade so she’ll be in seventh next year and she plays every sport basically. I’m helping coach her sixth-grade basketball team right now. I’m just going to wait and see but I’ll probably just enjoy the time off a little bit.”
In Mattox's final game, the Scots beat Eastmoor Academy 14-6 on Nov. 14 at Africentric to win the City League championship.
After playing three regular-season games and then making it to the second round of the Division II, Region 7 playoffs, Walnut Ridge won three games in the City playoffs to advance to the title game.
That followed an 11-1 finish last fall that included the Scots advancing to a Region 7 semifinal for their best season under Mattox.
They also made playoff appearance in 2009, 2017 and 2018 and were one spot from the postseason two other times, finishing ninth in Region 7 in 2012 and ninth in Region 5 in 2015.
Mattox’s twin sons, Xavier and Zavion, play football at Pickerington Central.
Before becoming Walnut Ridge’s coach, Mattox served as an assistant at Capital University for two seasons and then was an assistant for 12 seasons at Beechcroft.
A 1988 Groveport graduate, he was a wide receiver who helped the Cruisers make the playoffs for the first time in 1986 under former coach Tom McDonald. Ed Terwilliger, who went on to coach at Olentangy, and Vince Trombetti, who went on to coach at Worthington Kilbourne, were assistants.
“I’ve been real fortunate to be brought up under (former Beechcroft coach) Tom Dunlap and (former Capital coach) Roger Welsh,” Mattox said. “I’ve been really blessed to be around quality people throughout my entire career as a coach.”
Mattox will remain the Scots’ boys bowling coach this winter. He also is a physical education teacher at the school.
“(I’ll remember) the on-the-field stuff, but a lot of it was time spent in the locker room and seeing them grow from being goofy freshmen into grown men when they leave,” Mattox said. “There was a combination of factors (that led to our success) like having a lot of good players, having a lot of good coaches and people just kind of buying into everything we wanted them to do.”