Climb the Mountain: Coaching legend Philip Haywood releases second book

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Published: May. 31, 2023 at 7:07 PM EDT
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BELFRY, Ky. (WYMT) - Legendary high school football coach Philip Haywood wrote the book on coaching Kentucky’s kids. Literally.

With a passion for the pigskin pumping through his veins, the Belfry High School coach has as many words as he does wins, releasing his second book, Climb the Mountain.

“I don’t consider myself to be a great writer, but I also think if if God puts you in a situation where maybe you could help someone- even if it’s just one person- then we’re going against what we’ve been given, not to do it,” Haywood said.

The book, now available in audio or physical copies here, dives into some of the ups and downs Haywood has experienced during the last eight years with the Pirates. From everyday practice to the earth-stopping pandemic, which his team took as a challenge, returning in 2021 to go from an 0-5 season to the new state champions.

“To overcome that and win a state championship- which was one of the more remarkable things that I’ve been a part of,” he said. “Just having a group of kids that were able to do that and overcome the fact that we were 0-5 and not put their heads down.”

Climb the Mountain is a powerful guidebook for success that will leave you feeling empowered and inspired,” reads the book’s synopsis. “A roadmap for climbing to the top of the mountain and staying there, not just in football, but in all aspects of life.” Haywood said the lessons of success and struggle reach far past the football field.

“There’s a backdrop of football, but there’s a lot more to it,” Haywood said. “I’ve always believed that you gotta coach a little more than just the game itself. That there’s some great values that can be learned.”

The book is touted as an empowering piece with “remarkable tales of triumph and heartbreak.”

“A journey through the highs and lows of leading young men to maximize their potential,” the synopsis says. Which will offer “practical advice on topics such as building strong teams, conquering self-doubt, and fostering perseverance and resilience.”

The eight-time state champion hopes his book will be as well received as his first piece, Faith, Family, and Football. But, while both were written with a mission to share his stories of struggle and success, Haywood said this book is a little different.

“I’m pretty honest in it, because I don’t feel like I’m a perfect guy. You know, I think I’ve made mistakes along the way and I think we have to recognize those and grow from them,” he said. “And being able to overcome that and just get back up and take that next step up the mountain is a is a big key to success.”

Haywood said the book took three to four years to complete, but if it is able to help one person it was worth every minute.

“The journey to the top of the mountain is not always an easy one,” the book cover says. “With the right guidance, determination, and unwavering commitment to excellence, we can reach new heights of success beyond our wildest dreams.”

The coach also plans to have a public event at the Floyd County Chamber of Commerce meeting in June, during which he will share some excerpts from the book. If you would prefer to join the huddle and hear the words from Haywood himself, the audiobook is also underway.

“It was a process. You don’t realize how long it takes to read a book out loud until you do it,” he said. “But if this can help one person- five people- if they can pick up one or two things from this, this is what I do this for. I’ve always said it’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about us. And I think we’re all in this together to be able to help each other- to help each other succeed.”