Just days after Franklin County High School head football coach and teacher Eddie James announced he was leaving the Flyers program and was introduced as the new coach at Class 5A Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, the coach had a change of heart.

In a social media post on Tuesday, James wrote that he helped build the program at FCHS on trust, love and accountability.

“That vision has turned into a family that goes far beyond our young men who are lucky enough to put on a Flyer jersey,” he explained. “The love and feeling of family has become contagious throughout our families, school and ultimately our community.”

James said it all weighed heavily on his mind after accepting the Highlands position and, in the end, the program he helped build at his alma mater meant too much to him and his family to just walk away.

A 2005 Franklin County graduate, James led the Flyers to their first-ever Class 4A state championship game last month. FCHS lost to Boyle County by three points in overtime. 

Hired in 2017, his coaching record at Franklin County over four seasons is 35-12. Yet even the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead Highlands wasn’t enough to convince James to leave.

“When I step back, am I coaching football for wins or losses, or am I coaching football for the people? It’s about the people for us," he wrote. "These kids have left an impression on my heart and my family, and our work here is not done.”

This is the kind of coach we should want our kids to play for. One who doesn’t measure success by how many championships pack the trophy case, but by the people he or she has touched. Franklin County’s youth need more coaches like James who are fully invested in our community and their role in it as they turn young players into men and women — those who set aside their personal goals to embrace their players’ dreams both on and off the field.

Welcome home, coach. Thank you for choosing family over everything.

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