Stacy Luker said he is looking forward to moving into the community and becoming the head football coach at Neshoba Central High School.

Luker has spent his 26-year career coaching high school football in Alabama. His last 12 years have been at his alma mater Sweet Water High School where his teams won five state championships. Sweet Water has won at least 10 games in each of the past nine seasons and in the last three years, have made it to the semifinals in the Alabama Class 2A state playoffs. They went 10-4 last season.

"This is a great opportunity," Luker said. "I was looking for a change. I have 26 years in the retirement system in Alabama. So I was looking for another challenge and I was excited about what I saw at Neshoba Central."

Neshoba County School District Superintendent Tommy Dearing announced Luker's hiring Monday night. The school had been searching for a new head coach since Coach Chuck Friend resigned following the 2013 season. Luker's hiring was approved by the Neshoba County School Board Monday night.

He will earn $71,420 a year, Dearing said, in accordance with the current pay scale.

Luker has a coaching record of 171-66. He has been a head coach for 19 seasons. His Sweet Water teams won five Class 2A state championships with those coming in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. For the past three years, his teams have made it to the state semifinals.

"I have been hired to come in and establish a program," Luker said. "I hope to meet with the assistant coaches and players in the next few days.

"I am still under contract at Sweet Water and my contract with Neshoba Central starts July 1. I plan to come up to Neshoba Central at least twice a week until spring football starts. I expect to be here every day for spring football," Luker said.

Luker said he believes in running the wing-T offense.

"I am a Wing-T man," Luker said. "As far as defense goes, a lot of that will be determined by the personnel. With so many teams running the spread offense, a lot of what you run is an even front."

Luker added that he will be concentrating a lot on the offseason weight program.

"That is the key any successful football program," Luker said. "To be successful, you have to have a 12-month a year commitment. And that goes for coaches, the players, the school and the community."

Luker grew up in Sweet Water and played football there. He was a member of the 1982 team that won a state championship there. He would later attend and graduate from Livingston University where he played baseball. He later earned his Masters degree at Livingston, which is now West Alabama.

He started his coaching career as an assistant at Sweet Water. He left to be the head coach at Thomasville and Washington County high schools before returning to his alma mater at Sweet Water 12 years ago.

Neshoba Central had been looking for a head coach since longtime head coach Chuck Friend announced he would not be returning following the 2013 season. Neshoba Central principal John Bowen said he was pleased with the final selection.

"We interviewed several good candidates," Bowen said. "We were looking for three things. We wanted someone with experience; who had won or competed in state playoffs; and, someone with good character who would fit in with the school and the community.

"Coach Luker met all of our criteria. He had good references. He has been successful and was spoken of highly by the coaches who know him, both on the high school and college level. In the end, we felt we had three very good candidates, and we felt that Coach Luker was the best pick for our school."

Bowen added that the current assistant coaching staff will stay intact for next season.