Charles to take over Polk Middle boys program, focus on growing Wolverine talent

Polk County head soccer coach Lennox Charles

Lennox Charles has spent the past 15 seasons focused on taking Polk County’s boys soccer program to new heights.

Now the program’s all-time winningest coach is shifting his attention to the Wolverines’ foundation.

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Beginning this fall, Charles will take over Polk County Middle School’s boys program, hoping to utilize his more than two decades of coaching experience to shape the talents of future Polk County High School players.

Former Wolverine standout Josh Trejo, who served as an assistant coach under Charles last season, will assume control of the PCHS boys varsity program. Charles will remain Polk County High’s girls varsity coach.

In his 15 seasons with the Wolverine boys program, Charles compiled a 216-105-19 record, winning eight conference championships, a state 1A championship in 2003 and reaching the 1A final in 2006. He twice won more than 20 games and had just two seasons with fewer than 10 victories.

“It’s something I’ve thought about for a while. I mentioned it to Josh last year,” said Charles, who teaches physical education at Polk Middle. “In my head, I figured it would be three or four years down the road, then I would hopefully pass it on.

“But the timing worked out this year. Josh is there. The program will be in good hands. The middle school desperately needs a coach (Angel Mondragon, who coached last season, has moved). The timing just worked out pretty well.”

Having begun his coaching career in 1992 at Gardner-Webb, where he worked with both the men’s and women’s programs until coming to Polk County in 2001 as a teacher and varsity assistant, the upcoming season will mark the first time Charles has coached at the middle school level. He is looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re still trying to win, so that’s not going to change,” Charles said. “In middle school, about 50 percent of it, I’d say, is about development, giving them a foundation to build on once they move on to high school.

“That’s going to be fun, to be able to hopefully work on developing the younger players. I haven’t worked with that age of kids in, I can’t remember, but I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully, they’ll be able to keep the foundation we have going and we’ll have better players going to high school.”

Combined with his 16 seasons as varsity girls coach, Charles has won more than 450 games and two state championships at Polk County. Having a coach with that record of success as well as a passion for teaching the game at the middle school level is a luxury, said Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene.

“We are fortunate to have Lennox Charles as a Polk County Schools educator,” Greene said. “His record as coach of the Wolverine varsity men’s soccer program signifies a strong commitment to excellence. More importantly, his impact on the young men he has coached over the years is profound.

“Coach Charles’ willingness to take on this new role evidences his dedication to Wolverine soccer and reflects his understanding of the importance of a strong PCMS soccer foundation.”

Polk Middle finished 2-9-1 last season in the Blue Ridge Conference’s East Division, home of standout programs Apple Valley, Flat Rock and Hendersonville Middle. Charles hopes to be competitive with those teams, but will be equally focused on making sure the younger Wolverines are better prepared for their future.

“Hopefully, it’s going to be a little lighter environment,” Charles said. “We’ll still compete and still try to win. The one big goal is to try to prepare those kids coming in here to keep the high school program consistent and where it needs to be.”

History of Success
A year-by-year look at Lennox Charles’ record as Polk County’s head boys soccer coach:
2002: 16-6-2
2003: 19-5-0 (state champs)
2004: 16-3-3
2005: 16-8-0
2006: 21-5-1 (state finalist)
2007: 20-6-1 (regional finalist)
2008: 17-2-3
2009: 15-5-0
2010: 10-7-3
2011: 13-9-0
2012: 7-11-2
2013: 6-16-0
2014: 12-6-2
2015: 17-5-1
2016: 11-11-1
Total: 216-105-19