GAINESVILLE -- Stan Luttrell has spent half his coaching career molding and shaping Chestatee football into the playoff program it has become.
On Monday, Luttrell announced that it is time for a new challenge.
Luttrell will become an assistant on the Buford staff, taking over the Wolves' weight training program -- a decision that the coach says did not come easy.
"Any time you've been involved for eight years with something and you consider doing something different it's extremely difficult," Luttrell said. "It's something (my family and I) have prayed about and discussed at length, and it's not something we've taken lightly.
"I've been a head coach for 13 of my 16 years in coaching, and I've never really had an opportunity to step back, and this gives me a wonderful opportunity. And I think it's going to be a really good opportunity to get to work within the school and the program that is one of the best in the state."
Luttrell leaves Chestatee on a strong footing after guiding the War Eagles to back-to-back state playoff appearances in 2012-13 -- including the program's first playoff victory in 2013 and the team's best ever record of 9-3. In eight years, Luttrell led Chestatee to a 46-38 record and three playoff appearances.
"Our staff and players did some things this season people didn't think were possible, and it's very satisfying," Luttrell said. "I think Chestatee football is in a great place, and it's a job that a lot of people would consider now that would not have just a few years ago. I'll always care about Chestatee. I poured my heart and soul into the program for eight years."
Chestatee principal Suzanne Jarrard says she and her administration have already begun the process of finding Luttrell's replacement.
"I feel confident that we can find a coach that is coach Luttrell's equal in character and skill -- because coach Luttrell didn't just build a football team; he built young men here," Jarrard said. "We're on a short time frame here, but we want to do our due diligence and make sure we get the best person for the job. At the same time we also want to make sure our players don't suffer.
"We're looking at early May for spring practice to start, and we'd like to have someone in place by then. We already have some folks on staff capable of stepping into that role, and we have had numerous inquiries from outside the program already as well."
Luttrell also believes the next War Eagles head coach could already be within the program.
"Coach Bill Forman, coach (Matt) Mays and coach (John) Brimer should all be up for consideration," Luttrell said. "They've all been right in the middle of what we have accomplished the last few years and know what we stand for and how we do it."
Forman has been the War Eagles defensive coordinator for the last two years and has previous head coaching experience, while Mays has acted as co-defensive coordinator. Brimer has also been the team's offensive coordinator.
"That's a decision Chestatee's leadership has to make, and I'm sure they'll make the right one," Luttrell said.
The Buford City Schools Board of Education approved Luttrell's hiring in a meeting Monday. He will replace former strength coach Dickie May.
"The weight room is a big part of my background and I have a passion for that," said Luttrell, who has coached a number of standouts with Team Georgia, a competitive weight lifting program for high-school-aged athletes. "I've also been impressed with (Buford head football coach) Jess (Simpson) and the rest of his staff. We share similar visions for what we want to do not just as coaches but in raising young men."
Luttrell joins a Wolves program that has won two straight Class AAA titles -- and nine state championships across three classifications in 13 seasons. Buford will move up to Class AAAA next season, joining a strong Region 8-AAAA membership that also includes Chestatee.