BLAIRSVILLE — The lure of building a program from scratch is what piqued the interest of Union County football coach Brian Allison.
That interest has him trading in purple and gold for blue and orange.
The former standout Union County football player and long time Union County head football coach announced he is leaving his alma mater to take the same position at the soon-to-be-opened East Forsyth High School in Forsyth County, pending board approval. The school officially opens Fall of 2021.
"Something that I've always wanted to do is start a program from scratch," Allison said. "As I've gotten older, in the back of my mind, I didn't think the opportunity would come up. It's definitely an opportunity that's a little different, but it's something that I needed at this point and time in my career."
Allison said his family is on board with the decision but said it was a hard decision to leave his hometown for Forsyth County.
"I've had a really good run at Union County over the last 13 years. I'll always be a Panther and bleed purple and gold," he said. "My wife is on board and my kids are on board with my decision. But it was a tough decision. It's just something for our family that will be better, different and fresh in my career."
East Forsyth will open this fall and will play a non-region schedule in its first season. The Broncos will join Cherokee Bluff, Dawson County, Gilmer, Lumpkin County, North Hall, West Hall and White County in Region 7-3A and is expected to remain in the region for the next three seasons.
East Forsyth football team will play a full 10-game non-region varsity schedule and will play a Region 7-3A schedule in all other sports. It's the only Class 3A school in Forsyth County.
After coaching the defensive line at Furman for seven seasons, Allison returned home to take over the Union County program in 1996. In his first stint as head coach -- 1996-2001 -- Allison posted a 36-25 overall record with one postseason appearance in Class 2A.
The following season, he left for Winder-Barrow where he guided the Bulldoggs to an 8-3 mark in 2003 and the first round of the state playoffs. He finished his six-season career at Winder with a 25-36 overall record.
Upon returning to Union County in 2008, Allison faced the task of rebuilding the program again. From 2002 to 2007, Union County had three head coaches, none of which won more than four games. The Panthers were 5-5 in Allison's first season back. He eventually built the Panthers into a perennial playoff program, notching eight straight winning seasons and seven playoff trips, including the program's first second-round playoff appearance in 2019.
He'll have his hands full now, however, building a program from the ground up in an ultra-competitive Region 7-3A. But it's a chapter Allison said he's excited to begin.
"This is a deal where we want to build from the ground up and do it the right way," he said. "We want to start in the rec departments and the middle schools. I wouldn't be going into a situation that I felt like I couldn't make a difference. I want to make a difference in kid's lives and build our program the right way and let them be East Forsyth Broncos. I'm just excited about that situation."