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Chestatee football coach Luttrell leaving for Buford

Will serve as strength coach, defensive assistant for Wolves

POSTED: April 1, 2014 12:23 p.m.
Scott Rogers | The Times/

Chestatee football coach Stan Lutrell argues a call with officials during the War Eagles' game against West Hall last season.

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BUFORD — Stan Luttrell had nothing but great things to say about his time leading the Chestatee football program, but he’s also excited about his future as an assistant coach at a perennial state power.

After spending the past eight seasons as the War Eagles’ head coach, Luttrell has accepted a job as a strength and conditioning coach and defensive assistant at Buford. The hire was made official Monday night at the Buford City Schools Board of Education meeting.

“I wish nothing but the best for Chestatee,” Luttrell said Monday night in a telephone interview. “One of the hardest parts of leaving a situation is the relationships you leave behind.”

Luttrell will replace Dicky May, who is retiring at the end of the academic year after 28 years of coaching in Gwinnett County — the past seven at Buford.

Wolves coach Jess Simpson said he was the one who reached out to gauge Luttrell's interest in the Wolves’ opening based on Luttrell's on-field resume and the results he has gotten from players in the weight room.

“We’re excited to get (Luttrell) on board,” Simpson said. “He’s done a great job at Chestatee and we’re excited to be adding him.

“If you know Stan, you know what kind of person he is.”

Luttrell was hired at Chestatee prior to the 2006 season. He compiled a 46-38 record in eight seasons, and led to the War Eagles to their only postseason victory in school history — a 41-13 rout of Grady in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs last season. The decision to leave Chestatee wasn’t an easy one for Luttrell to make, and that was evident throughout the interview process, Buford Principal Banks Bitterman said.

“He has a love for the kids at Chestatee,” Bitterman said. “I can honestly say, it is probably one of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make. I know it was probably the hardest decision he’s ever had to make in his professional career.”

At Buford, Luttrell will take over the weight program for all sports, while serving as a defensive assistant on the football field. Simpson said it isn’t clear at this time which position Luttrell will coach.

Luttrell, who played linebacker in college at Carson-Newman in the 1990s, admitted the move to Buford was unexpected.

The initial step was a simple conversation with Simpson that eventually led to the opportunity to join a program that has won nine state championships in the past 13 years.

“I was honored to be considered to join that coaching staff, but at the same time it is going to be hard to leave Chestatee,” Luttrell said.

In his 16 years as a high school football coach, Luttrell has been a head coach for 13, including two years at Union County before arriving at Chestatee. Now he preparing to evolve back into the role of an assistant, but it's a change he is excited about.

“One of the things that Coach Simpson asked me was if am I ready to not be the head coach,” Luttrell said. “That is something I’m looking forward to — to not being the head coach, and just playing a different role in a quality program and helping Coach Simpson and the football staff put the best football team on the field.”

Luttrell joins Buford at an interesting time, with the Wolves moving into Region 8-AAAA alongside Chestatee this fall. The two football teams are set to meet Oct. 3 in Gainesville.

The game will certainly have more intrigue given the move by Luttrell, who admitted he doesn’t exactly know what he will be feeling the night of that game.

Along with facing the War Eagles in Region 8-AAAA, Luttrell will also bring insight to Buford about what other teams from the region have done in past years, including two-time region champion Monroe Area.

“I guess he knows a few of the teams over there,” Simpson said. “Obviously, teams like North Hall and White County are in Region 7-AAA with us right now, but he knows the teams that are in there right now. I think the whole package was there. He did an unbelievable job with (Chestatee)."

“The biggest asset that he brings, in my opinion, is his knowledge, specifically, in weight training,” Bitterman said. “I think that Coach Luttrell will be able to help our entire program. He’ll be able to help every athlete in the building.”

While Luttrell is currently under contract with the Hall County School System until the end of the current academic year, he could be released from it early and join Buford prior to the summer. Regardless of where he is coaching, Luttrell said he and his family plan on remaining in their current home in the Gainesville area for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, Chestatee now begins the process of finding its new coach. 

"Coach Luttrell will be resigning his position as head football coach here at Chestatee effective immediately," Chestatee Principal Suzanne Jarrard said in a press release Tuesday morning. "We appreciate his eight years of service to our school and community, and we wish him and his family all the best. CHS will continue to build on the foundation that he has laid which culminated this past season in the first GHSA state playoff win in school history.

"CHS will immediately begin the process of finding a suitable replacement. While we hope to have someone in place before spring practice begins, we also want to do our due diligence. We know that this position will generate a lot of interest from qualified candidates both inside and out of the program. We will move as fast as possible while giving all candidates just consideration."

Luttrell said he hopes current assistant coaches will be given the opportunity to lead the War Eagles' football program in the coming years.



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