Massaponax hires Shane Ludden as his father’s successor

by | Mar 6, 2024 | ALLFFP, High school sports, Sports, Spotsylvania

All four of Eric Ludden’s sons played for him at Massaponax High School, but the Panthers’ longtime football coach noticed Shane Ludden paid extreme attention to detail. 

“He always had that passion for it, and when he played sports, he always worked extremely hard,” Eric Ludden said. “His brothers did, too. But he had this interest in digging deeper into the sport, learning a lot of the intricacies and drawing things up. He was always interested in the cerebral side of it.” 

That is why it came as no surprise when Shane Ludden joined his father’s staff and remained there for 11 years. 

Eric Ludden recently retired after 26 seasons at Massaponax. 

The Spotsylvania County School Board approved the hiring of Shane Ludden, 34, as his father’s successor at its meeting Monday night.  

The board also approved Conway Reid as the next head coach at Spotsylvania High School, replacing Jeremy Jack. Riverbend athletic director Jesse Lohr said his school is still seeking a head football coach and hopefully the decision will be made “sooner rather than later.” 

“I’m extremely excited,” Shane Ludden said of his opportunity. “This has kind of been a dream job, one that I have been subconsciously preparing for since I was 8-year-old. I definitely thought about the transition for the last five or six years.” 

Shane Ludden said he is thrilled to have the opportunity to advance the legacy that his father started in 1998. Eric Ludden, who coached 40 years, ranks 25th on the Virginia High School League’s all-time wins list with 238. He directed the Panthers to 208 wins. He had previous coaching stints at J.E.B. Stuart in Fairfax County and at Courtland.  

His Massaponax teams captured five regional championships and had eight seasons with at least 10 wins. The Panthers went 49-5 from 2013-16. Eric Ludden plans to take a year off to travel with his wife, Rebecca, before rejoining the staff as an assistant coach. 

“We definitely will be on the phone constantly shooting ideas back and forth,” Shane Ludden said. “So, whenever he relieves that desire to travel, and he is ready to come back and coach some football, he will always have a place on our staff.” 

Shane Ludden was the Panthers’ starting quarterback from 2006-07 before he went on to Concord (W.Va.) University and later transferred to Ferrum. He began his coaching and teaching career at Massaponax in 2013, initially in special education. He now teaches sophomore physical education and driver’s education.  

He’s coached every position for the Panthers except quarterback and defensive line. He spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator, also coaching running backs and inside linebackers. He added special teams coordinator to his duties in 2013. He said the thing he’s most excited about with the new position is the opportunity to keep the Panthers’ entire staff intact. 

“I love it here,” Shane Ludden said. “I’ve had people say to me, ‘Why don’t you go blaze your own trail?’ But this place has given me so much. I love working with the kids here. The people in the building are great.

“There were three head coaching jobs open in Spotsylvania County and this is the only one I applied for, the only one I wanted. I care so much about this place that I married one of my high school teammates. My wife, Kelly, was a kicker here in 2006.” 

Reid also has deep ties to Spotsylvania High.  

The 1995 graduate was the starting quarterback on Spotsylvania’s ‘94 Group AA, Division 4 state championship team under VHSL Hall of Fame head coach Tim Coleman. Reid worked on the staff for a decade, spending the last two years as the offensive coordinator after a five-year run as the junior varsity head coach. 

“I think the thing that makes Conway the best possible person for the job is his attachment to the school,” Knights athletic director Tim Acors said. “He understands the tradition and what it takes to win. He’s a Coach Coleman protege. He’s been around some really good coaches to help mold and shape his own philosophy.”  

Jack said he and Reid meshed right away when he took over the program in 2017. He said Reid’s “deep passion and genuine care for the program” will make him successful. 

“When somebody truly wants to see something do well on a personal and professional level,” Jack said, “I think you will see a great deal of success.” 

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