FORT THOMAS, Ky. — The Fort Thomas Independent Schools announced Thursday that Bob Sphire has been hired as the next varsity football coach at Highlands High School.
Sphire has more than 40 years of coaching experience and has over 300 wins at the high school, college and indoor football levels.
Sphire is from Brandenburg, Kentucky, and his appreciation for Highlands football dates back decades, according to the school district.
“Growing up in Kentucky and coaching in this state for as long as I did, I know first-hand that Highlands is one of the best schools, academically and athletically, in the commonwealth," Sphire said. "Its tradition of excellence speaks for itself. The football program is built around champions and championships. And I can’t wait to work with the tremendous young men in the program.”
Highlands had previously introduced Eddie James as its coach Jan. 10, but he backed out of his commitment to coach the Bluebirds, according to the district.
Former Highlands coach Brian Weinrich, who led the Bluebirds since 2014, stepped down in December.
Sphire has walked the sidelines in Georgia at North Gwinnett and Camden County High Schools since 2006. He's coached and developed two players that are currently standout performers on the football scene in Cincinnati.
Those players include Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah and NFL Draft prospect Myjai Sanders, who is entering his senior season as a defensive end at the University of Cincinnati.
“This is a fantastic day for Highlands High School and the great people that make up the Bluebirds football community. We have hired a coach with a championship pedigree and a plan to get us back there,” Principal Matt Bertasso said in a statement.
“Coach Sphire does a fantastic job of getting his players ready to play at their optimum potential and I am excited for a championship culture to be restored in Fort Thomas.”
Sphire started the football program at Lexington Catholic High School in 1992 and coached the team to a 2005 state championship.
He also led North Gwinnett to runner-up finishes in the Georgia state playoffs in 2007 and 2013.
One of his former players at Lexington Catholic was Wes Caldwell, who is now the athletic director at Highlands High School.
“It’s amazing how life comes full circle,” said Caldwell. “I know exactly the kind of coach, mentor and leader that Coach Sphire will be for our student-athletes, because he has had a profound influence on my life to this day. We have hired a tremendous coach and leader of young men to guide our program.”
Sphire and his wife, Marian, have two children: Danielle and Hayden. They also have a granddaughter, Gigi.
During his career, Sphire earned the honor of coaching in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Game three times, as either a head coach or assistant coach.
At North Gwinnett, Sphire’s team was ranked as high as No. 11 nationally in the USA Today Super 25 poll.
“We are going to work very, very hard at Highlands and play an exciting and physical brand of football,” Sphire said. “Our community will be very proud of them as players, but most importantly as young men who will go on to do great things in their lives.”