Kinston football

Kinston High School has been searching for a new football coach since the end of the 2018 season and didn’t have to look very far as the school hired Elba native Rudy Free last week.

The Coffee County School Board voted on Thursday, March 8, to hire Free to take over the Kinston football program.

Free is an 18-year coaching veteran and has been a Coffee County resident for much longer than that.

Free is a graduate of Elba High School where he earned all-state honors as a linebacker in the 90s and has spent his entire coaching career in the Wiregrass.

After being a part of the legendary Mack Wood’s 1992 state championship team at Elba, as a freshman, and earning all-state honors as a senior, Free went on to play defensive end and linebacker at Troy for two years and then West Alabama for two more years.

Free spent time on the Geneva High coaching staff from 2001 until 2005 before former Elba coach Scott Rials brought Free back to Elba to serve as his defensive coordinator from 2006 until 2008.

In 2009, Free accepted his first head coaching position at Ariton where he coached from 2009 until 2011. Free’s Ariton teams went 7-23 in his three years.

Following his time at Ariton Free became defensive coordinator at Cottonwood in 2012 before he returned to Geneva in 2013.

In 2016 Rials brought Free onto his staff in Luverne as defensive coordinator and in 2018 the Luverne defense helped lead the team to the state championship game.

While Free has spent the majority of his coaching career coaching outside of Coffee County, he and his family has lived in the county throughout that time. Free hopes to bring stability to a program that has had five coaches in the past five years.

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