GAINESVILLE -- Turns out North Hall didn't need to look far for its next head football coach.
After spending 13 years as an assistant with the Trojans' football program, David Bishop will now get the chance to lead North Hall from the front after principal Joe Gheesling announced Monday that Bishop will take over from Bob Christmas as the Trojans next head coach.
"A great deal of discussion and consideration went into this very difficult decision because there were so many highly qualified applicants for this prestigious position," Gheesling said via press release. "Coach Bishop has been coach Christmas' offensive coordination for the past 18 years and understands the expectations and values of the North Hall community. I am confident that he will be able to continue the high levels of achievement established by coach Christmas over the past 13 years."
As offensive coordinator Bishop helped Christmas turn the Trojans from doormats into powerhouse, as North Hall went 106-46 during Christmas' tenure as head coach, including region championships in 2004, '06, '07 and '12. North Hall also reached the state semifinals in 2007 and 2012 and the quarterfinal round in '04 and '06. The Trojans had won just 124 games in their 40-plus-year history prior to Christmas and his staff's arrival.
For Bishop it is a dream come true.
"I'm excited to have this opportunity; I know it's going to be a challenge, but I'm excited to show people we're still here," Bishop said.
Bishop will lead the Trojans through their promotion from Class AAA to Class AAAA, a move which will see them compete in perhaps one of the toughest regions, regardless of classification, in the state.
"I think nine of the 10 teams on our schedule were playoff teams from a year ago," said Bishop, whose team will face a league that includes Class AAA champ Buford, rival Chestatee and state playoff teams such as Monroe Area, North Oconee, Stephens County and White County. "But I have a competitive nature, and I think our program does too, and we're going to be ready for the challenge."
Bishop believes that by sticking to the principals already laid down by Christmas' staff, North Hall can continue its successful ways.
"If it ain' t broke don't fix it, and we're not going to change what got us here," said Bishop, who said he will maintain the base styles of offense and defense that North Hall has employed through recent seasons. "We're going to continue to base everything off of hard work and discipline."
Bishop, who has been with Christmas since 1996, says it will be bittersweet to see the Trojans coach head to Virginia -- where he is taking over Jefferson Forest, where he previously coached -- but both are glad that it is Bishop taking over at North Hall.
"June will be tough for both our families," Bishop said. "I've helped raise his kids; he's helped raise mine. We hunt together. We're very close. And when he found out I was getting the job, he was probably even a little more excited than I was. And we're going to sit down and look at a lot of stuff before he leaves."
Bishop, who must also replace longtime defensive coordinator Ronnie Eaves, says he hopes to keep most of the current North Hall staff intact.
"As a head coach, you're only as good as the guys who work around you, and we have a great staff here," said Bishop, who added that he's thrilled to stay at a school for which he's worked for 13 years.
"It's a huge relief. We were a little nervous the last couple of weeks. But this makes me feel great, and it's been maybe the most humbling experience of my life -- how this community has supported me in my pursuit of this job."