Fort Knox Middle High School officials recently announced that Ken Walter will replace Wes Arnold as head coach of the Eagles football program for the 2023-24 school year. Arnold had publicized his decision to step down in November 2022 after achieving significant success with the Eagles over five years.
Arnold cited three main reasons for leaving: his desire to spend more time with his young family, feeling torn between his football players and his children, and recognizing that life would only get busier as his kids became more involved in activities.
Arnold’s Achievements and Challenges at Fort Knox
Arnold started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Fort Knox in 2010 before moving to Central Hardin High School for three years, where he learned from experienced mentor coaches. He returned to Fort Knox as head coach in 2018 with three main goals: increase the team’s wins, beat Fort Campbell, and end a season with a winning record.
The first year proved challenging, with outdated uniforms and mixed-up helmet colors. Despite not achieving his goals that year, Arnold turned things around by 2019, with over 40 players on the team and a victory over Fort Campbell in the Army Bowl, breaking a 16-year losing streak.
Impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 Football Season
The 2020 season was disrupted by COVID-19, with military school football games halted despite the Kentucky High School Athletics Association’s decision to proceed with tight restrictions. In 2021, the team returned to the field and continued their winning ways, beating Fort Campbell in the Army Bowl once more.
Ken Walter: Fort Knox Middle High School New Head Coach
Ken Walter, Arnold’s former assistant coach, brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having coached in Florida, Korea, and Spain. Walter understands the unique challenges of coaching a transient military team and aims to replicate his previous successes at Fort Knox.
Building a Winning Program with Military Children
Walter acknowledges the difficulty of building a winning program with military children who frequently move, making it hard to establish a tradition. However, he believes that the team’s transient nature also makes it easier to change the program’s tone and atmosphere.
With a focus on teaching the game and his background in offensive and defensive line coaching, Walter is excited to tackle the challenge of turning the Eagles into a powerhouse against traditional teams.