Tuesday December 7th, 2021 7:27AM

Football: Webb cites family first reason for resigning as Gainesville coach

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

GAINESVILLE — Heath Webb said it was time to do what was best for his family.

That was the driving force behind his resignation as Gainesville High School's head football coach. The school made the announcement Wednesday morning.

"For 20 years, I've dragged my family across the state chasing my dreams chasing what I wanted to do," he said. "It's time to put my family's needs and wants in front of my own and change my perspective on life.

"We started the journey before we had kids, and now that we do have kids, we feel like we need to do what's best for us as a family."

In four years as head coach, Webb led the Red Elephants to an overall record of 18-25. The Red Elephants were 5-5 this season and finished outside the top-four in a super competitive Region 6-7A. It was the first time Gainesville had missed the playoffs since 1999 -- the state's longest playoff streak by any school.

"I feel like I'm leaving it better than I found it," he said. "When I first showed up, there were 30 kids on the roster, and a good majority of those kids were academically ineligible. Fast forward four years, participation is much higher, and academically, the kids are in much better shape. I feel like we've done a good job of building up good young men. Forty-five percent of our graduating seniors earned the opportunity to play college football, and we had a 100 percent graduation rate for our players. Obviously, we wanted to win more football games, but feel like we won a lot of battles along the way. We feel like the program is headed in the right direction."

Webb said he'll begin to search for his next stop and wants to stay in the North Georgia area. As of Friday, the only head coaching position open is at Lumpkin County. Caleb Sorrells stepped down on Monday. 

Webb does have some ties to Lumpkin County, having coached on Tommy Jones staff (2006-2012). 

"I'm looking for a place where we all can be together and settle in for the long haul," he said. "I don't know what that is. I don't know if that's a head coaching job or a middle school job. It doesn't matter. It just matters that whatever the next stop is, it's going to be a family decision, and it's not going to be about my needs. It's going to be about the needs of the family. I'm looking forward to that journey.

Gainesville athletic director Adam Lindsey said the search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

“While change is never easy, we look ahead with excitement about what the future holds,” Lindsey said. “Our goal remains the same, and that’s to put Gainesville back among the premier football programs in the state.”

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