𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐃𝐒 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇 𝐒𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐎𝐋 𝐇𝐈𝐑𝐄𝐒 𝐅𝐑𝐀𝐍𝐊𝐋𝐈𝐍 𝐂𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐓𝐘’𝐒 𝐄𝐃𝐃𝐈𝐄 𝐉𝐀𝐌𝐄𝐒 𝐀𝐒 𝐍𝐄𝐗𝐓 𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐃 𝐅𝐎𝐎𝐓𝐁𝐀𝐋𝐋 𝐂𝐎𝐀𝐂𝐇
The Fort Thomas Independent Schools announced today that Eddie James has been hired as the next varsity football coach at Highlands High School. James will oversee all aspects of the Bluebirds’ storied program after a four-year stint as head coach at Franklin County High School. This past season, James led the Flyers on a remarkable run that ended with a state runner-up finish in the 2020 Kentucky Class 4A playoffs.
“The Highlands Bluebirds represent one of the true blue blood programs in the Common-wealth of Kentucky and a gold standard when it comes to excellence,” James said. “I would only leave Franklin County for a job of this magnitude, and I am very eager to work with the great student-athletes in Fort Thomas to restore a championship tradition on the foot-ball field.”
After conducting a comprehensive search, Highlands High School principal Matt Bertasso said James’ clear and energetic vision for what Highlands football will embody, both on and off the field, separated him as the ideal candidate to walk the sidelines.
“Eddie James sees the football program as an extension of his own family,” Bertasso said. “He is about championship-building, for sure. But he also uses football to teach life lessons that will help mold our students into fine people long after they leave the program. That’s very important to us.”
James graduated from Franklin County High School in 2005 and held positions as an assis-tant coach at FCHS and at Boyle County before his promotion to head coach at Franklin County in 2017. James holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Ken-tucky and teaches special education. James also received his Rank 1 in Special Education from University of the Cumberlands.
“Highlands has a long and proud history of competing at the highest levels and Eddie brings with him the coaching acumen and experience needed to bring this kind of achieve-ment back to our football program,” athletic director Wes Caldwell said. “Hiring Eddie rep-resents a critical investment in our entire athletic department, and his energy will galvanize our community. We believe a lot of great Friday nights are in store for the Bluebirds.”
James’ wife, Nikki, also teaches special education and the couple has two children, Ava (6) and Jax (3). The family plans to move from the Frankfort area to Northern Kentucky in the coming months.
“Preparing for my interview at Highlands was like preparing for a big game,” James added. “Lots of adrenaline and excitement. And I want to communicate very clearly that everyone who wears an ‘H’ in our program will represent Highlands in a first-class manner on the field, in the classroom and in the community. That’s my expectation.”
The Fort Thomas Independent Schools will host a small media gathering at the Highlands Fieldhouse, an indoor training facility for Highlands Athletics, to introduce Eddie James. Masks must be worn at all times and please bring recording equipment compatible with social distancing.
Livestream of the press conference Monday, January 11, will be available on the District Facebook page and Film/Broadcast YouTube channel: http://broadcast.hhsbirds.com
📸 credit: Nick Moore, 44 Sports Photography