Payne resigns as soccer coach

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By Jesse Osbourne

After three seasons, Marion County High School Girls' Soccer Head Coach Neil Payne is moving on.

Payne recently accepted a head coaching position at Montgomery County High School, where he will also be a special education teacher.

"With all the cuts going on at school this year, my aide position was the position that got cut at Calvary. There were no teaching jobs available to get," he said. "Once you get married, you find out that you can't make it on an aide's salary. I needed a job where I could make more money. I found out about the Montgomery County job, applied for it, and everything fell into place."

No replacement has been named yet but Assistant Coach Hart Hagan could be a candidate.

While he will be leaving his hometown, Payne is moving closer to his wife's hometown, which is 35 minutes away.

"It's always difficult having to leave what you've known as home," he said. "I have to do what's in my family's best interest. I'm very excited about the possibilities that could go on there."

Montgomery County has deeper roots set for their program, which is around 20 years old. The school has three soccer fields, a multi-purpose field and a middle school program.

"Soccer wise, it's a lot better than here," he said. "There's more access to play top level competitive soccer with Lexington being so close and there's more people involved with the game."

Overall interest is high as well. Payne said 30 players showed up to the first meeting under his watch. Some players weren't able to attend.

With all the extras, this is a move up for the coach.

"That's exactly what I told them in the interview. I'm not going to leave home unless I felt I was making an upward move," he said. "If they were the same level as here, why would I leave."

Montgomery County is in a competitive district, featuring Paris, Bourbon County and Harrison County.

"Bourbon County is their version of Boyle," Payne said. "They're a team you have to take down to be successful. (Montgomery County) has had a team for maybe 20 some years and I don't know if they've ever beat Bourbon County."

In three seasons, Payne went 20-28-3 and was six wins away from having the most in school history.

"I wish everybody the best of luck," Payne said. "We'll see each other down the road I'm sure."