In Class A football, playing both ways is the norm because of the limitation in numbers.
Unfortunately, playing multiple positions is also a fact of life for coaches at small schools.
So when Patrick Stewart was named the new head football coach at Loganville Christian Academy last February, he also signed on as a full time staff member of the school’s business/development department. In laymen’s terms, he was a fundraising hand-shaker and arm-twister. It’s an unpleasant but necessary task at schools that get all their money from tuition and contributions rather than taxes.
Turns out, Stewart’s heart just wasn’t into the job. He much preferred those things that brought him into direct contact with students, such as coaching and teaching. But since he doesn’t yet have a teaching certificate (he’s on track to earn one in March), a classroom spot wasn’t an option for now.
Instead, Stewart and the school’s administration mutually agreed to part ways last week. For a football program that had enjoyed relative stability at the helm, it’ll start next fall with its third head coach in as many seasons.
Given that the Lions will be leaving the comfortable confines of the Georgia Independent School Association and joining the cut-throat world of the Georgia High School Association, the timing is less than ideal.
Meanwhile, Stewart will move on, likely taking the more traditional route of coaching at a public school with the possibility of going back private some day.
His inaugural season was just okay (5-7 overall record). It was a rollercoaster year, starting with three straight impressive wins, followed by four consecutive losses, and culminating with a defeat in the second round of the playoffs. Losing its biggest offensive threat just four games into the campaign killed any early momentum, but that’s football.
But more important than wins and losses, any potential employer looking at Stewart’s resume should strongly consider his references. They are glowing.
Upon the announcement of Stewart’s resignation, his players took to social media to sing his praises. Many told stories of Stewart selflessly giving his time to take them on recruiting trips or comfort them in time of loss. He didn’t just profess to care about his kids; he showed it both on the field and off.
So where does he go from here?
There have been rumblings of a possible move to Social Circle, which is searching for a new man after the departure of Chad Estes. My guess is the Redskins are looking for a more established coach to help turn around its struggling program.
But success stories abound in the past couple of years of teams taking a shot on a young up-and-comer. And keeping a guy like Stewart in the county would be a great thing.