Three days after the regular season ended, a local high school football coach has resigned.
Mark “Dre” LeGree, who had a 4-16 record in two seasons at Pacelli — his alma mater — announced his decision during a meeting with the players Monday.
“I love you all so much, and I love this school,” LeGree told them, according to the news release from St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School.
LeGree took over the Pacelli program last year after the Vikings went 1-9 in 2016. Following a winless 2017, they went 4-6 this year, ranked 32nd out of 37 teams in the Georgia High School Association Class A Power Ratings for private schools. The top 24 teams qualified for the state playoffs.
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“It’s been a great year, and I’m proud of you,” LeGree told the players. “It’s come to a point that I believe you need someone with a little more experience in coaching, and so I’ve decided to step down as head football coach.”
LeGree will continue to teach physical education at the school.
“We thank Coach LeGree for his dedication to the Vikings Football program,” Pacelli athletics director Corry Black said in the news release. “We improved as a program under his leadership. We had some positive highlights during this season, including our biggest win total in three years with four wins. Coach LeGree has built a foundation for our program to continue to grow upon.”
A search committee will be established to select LeGree’s successor, Black said.
In a phone interview with the Ledger-Enquirer, LeGree was more specific about the reason he resigned. He said the decision was “a mutual agreement” with the administration.
Despite the four-win improvement from 2017 to 2018, LeGree said, “It was just a tough year from an operational standpoint.”
This was his first job as a head coach, LeGree explained, and he was responsible for the varsity, junior varsity and middle school teams at the K-12 private school.
“That was tough for someone who doesn’t have a lot of coaching experience,” LeGree said.
Asked whether parents or players complained, LeGree said, “It was a little bit of everything.”
But he emphasized this point: “This is my home. This is my family. This place will always be dear to my heart, and it’s great they still want me around.
“There’s no animosity or anything like that. We came to terms, and I want to learn. I want to learn from an established head coach, so I can be better.”
LeGree played three seasons at Pacelli, graduating in 2007. After becoming a three-time NCAA Division I-AA All-American defensive back at Appalachian State, the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the fifth ground of the 2011 NFL draft. He was cut in the preseason, then signed with the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills but never played in a regular-season NFL game. He played in the 2014 and 2015 Canadian Football League seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULE
Friday, Nov. 9
GHSA Class AAAA state playoffs
Carver vs. Woodward Academy, at Kinnett Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Columbus at Salem, 7:30 p.m.
Hardaway at Eastside, 7:30 p.m.
GHSA Class AA state playoffs
Spencer at Rabun County, 7:30 p.m.
GHSA Class A private-school state playoffs
Brookstone at Christian Heritage, 7:30 p.m.
GHSA Class A public-school state playoffs
Macon County at Chattahoochee County, 7:30 p.m.
Manchester at Emanuel County Institute, 7:30 p.m.
Marion County bye; next week hosts winner of Montgomery County at Clayton.
GICAA Class AAA state playoffs
Calvary Christian vs. Community Christian School, at Henry County High School, 7:30 p.m.
AHSAA Class 7A state playoffs
Davidson at Central, 8 p.m.
AISA Class AAA state playoffs
Glenwood at Bessemer Academy, 8 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 10
Columbus Civic Center
Local teams: Columbus, Northside, Harris County and Brookstone
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.