“I am thankful for Coach Slaughter’s commitment to Cleveland High School. He has been a strong role model for our student athletes and has worked diligently with our student body to promote school pride. E.K. has a bright future and we wish him luck in his endeavors,” said CHS Principal Autumn O’Bryan in a statement.
“Autumn and I sat down together, and we decided that his was the best direction for the football program and myself,” stated Slaughter. “I’m excited about the possibilities the future holds, and I am looking forward to seeing where God takes me.”
Despite stepping down from coaching, he will maintain his teaching position with the school.
Slaughter has been with the school since 2009 and has a combined record of 14-18 leading the Raiders.
Before coming to Cleveland Slaughter spent a year as the head coach of the Soddy-Daisy Trojans.
In his first season as a head coach Slaughter led the Trojans into the second round of the playoffs, when he suffered a close loss against Ooltewah.
He was never quite able to replicate that success at Cleveland.
During his inaugural season with the Raiders, the team limped into the playoffs with a 3-8 (2-4 District 5-AAA) record, but was quickly dispatched by Columbia in the first round.
Cleveland’s 2010 campaign saw increased success with a record of 6-5 overall and a District 5-AAA championship with a 5-1 record in the district, but once again the Raiders suffered a first-round playoff exit when Lawrence County beat them 41-34.
This year’s team story has seen plenty of press: one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, a televised game on ESPNU and the perfect storm blowing up to miss the playoffs.
The Raiders went 5-5 overall this season and 3-3 in district play, but struggled through several games with numerous miscues on both sides of the ball.
Slaughter was honored by the Tennessee Titans this year as the “Titan High School Football Coach of the Week” after the Raiders pulled a stunning upset over the state-ranked Red Bank Lions.
According to Cleveland City Schools public information director Doug Moore, the process for finding a new Raider coach is not in the school’s immediate future.
The school system will begin the process by forming a committee to evaluate the situation sometime after Thanksgiving, explained Moore.