Scott Stidham (middle, orange jacket) with his players and fellow coaches. 

After a brief search, Independence High School has found its next football coach. 

Former South Gibson coach Scott Stidham has been hired to lead the Eagles program, per a release on the school. 

"We are so excited to welcome Coach Scott Stidham and his family to Indy Nation," IHS principal Niki Patton said. "The opening generated lots of interest from some very impressive candidates, but Coach Stidham clearly stood out based on what we were looking for as a leader in our school and as the coach of our football program.  

"Having both started a program, and maintaining a winning record, I know he will continue to succeed at Independence with our athletes." 

Stidham had been with South Gibson since the school's opening in 2009, where he posted a 79-41 record and nine winning seasons over the last 11 years. He won region titles with the school in 2012 and 2019 and led his team to the state quarterfinals in 2020 and 2021. 

He's the second coach to recently come from South Gibson to Independence. Mark Wilkins was hired to lead Indy's boys basketball team from the Medina, Tenn., school earlier this year. 

"Our family is so blessed and excited for the opportunity to lead the Independence football program," Stidham said in a release. "I'd like to thank Dr. Patton and the committee for selecting me for this tremendous honor. We can't wait to get to work and continue to build on the winning tradition at Indy." 

The new Eagles coach started his career in Kansas at Lawrence as an assistant before stops at Liberty Tech Magnet and Crockett County's coaching staffs. His first head coaching gig came with South Gibson. 

Stidham replaces Scott Blade, who resigned from the school last month. 

Blade posted a 74-37 overall record and a 37-14 region record with the school during his nine seasons at the helm. 

The Eagles went 4-7 (2-3) this fall in what would be Blade's last season as head coach. The team lost to Collierville on the road in the first round of the 6A playoffs. 

Independence will return players like tight end and Ohio State commit Ty Lockwood and running back Tre Hartwell next fall. Impact players like quarterback Joseph Cummings, receivers River Katina and Jack Rummell will graduate in the spring.