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Monday January 20th, 2020 3:53PM

Boys soccer: Knights' Shirley stepping down

By AccessWDUN Staff

OAKWOOD — After 11 seasons at the helm, Johnson boys soccer coach Brian Shirley is resigning, effective immediately.

Shirley cited focusing on other priorities as the reason for his sudden decision.

“Today has been a very difficult day. One of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make,” Shirley said. “But I owe it to all parties involved -- to my boys, to myself, and most importantly, to my family -- to the best I can be. I know that I have done things the right way, and I can be proud of that. It has been a heck of a ride the last 11 years.”

Shirley complied a 174-37-8 record during his tenure as head coach, with seven region titles, 11 playoff appearances, including capturing the 2018 Class 5A state championship and two other state runner-up finishes.

Johnson Athletic Director Tony Wagner, expressed his gratitude for Shirley’s impact on the program and the community.

“We at Johnson can’t thank Coach Shirley enough for his dedication, work ethic, and heart for our young people, our school, and our community," Wagner said. "He re-built the boys porgram and established a brand that was easily recognizable and respected throughout the state of Georgia. We are thankful for the 11 years he served as head coach, and even more thankful he will still be involved in the lives of our student-athletes.”

“When you look at all of the accomplishments that that JHS soccer has accumulated under Coach Shirley, the numbers absolutely jump off the page,” Associate Principal Jonathan Edwards said. “But those numbers don’t tell the entire story. Coach Shirley has run an elite, first-class soccer program that builds strong young men of character. His hard work and commitment to doing things the right way brought JHS its first state championship; but most importantly, the impact that he has had on so many young people is his lasting legacy. We are grateful for all Brian has done for our student-athletes and the entire Johnson High School community. We wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”

Both Wagner and Edwards indicated that a plan is underway to fill Shirley’s vacancy.

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