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Longtime Buford football coach Jess Simpson resigns to join Georgia State staff
Buford High football coach Jess Simpson calls out plays against Kell during the Class AAAAA state quarterfinal game on Friday in Buford. - photo by Erin O. Smith

One of Georgia’s most coveted coaching positions in high school football just opened up.

Longtime Buford High football coach Jess Simpson, who led the Wolves to seven state titles in 12 seasons while in charge, announced Friday he was stepping down for a move to the college ranks.

Simpson will continue his career at Georgia State, where he will serve as defensive line coach under first-year Panthers coach Shawn Elliott.

Simpson says farewell after serving the Buford program for the last 21 years, and guiding Buford’s football program to unprecedented success.

Simpson amassed a record of 164-12 and 10 consecutive state title game appearances. Under Simpson, the Wolves won the state championships every year from 2007-2010, 2012-2014. The Wolves were runners-up in 2011, 2015 and 2016.

Coach Simpson and his wife, Tricia, expressed their gratitude for the support of the Buford community.

“Buford will always have a special place in my heart. I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to have lived, coached and raised my family here,” Simpson said Friday. “Our family has been blessed to do life with so many incredible people over the past 21 years in his community and we appreciate the support, love and kindness that has been extended to us during our time here. I will miss our players and coaches the most but I know this is where the Lord is leading us.

“We are now looking forward to being apart of the Georgia State football family and building something special with Coach Shawn Elliott and his staff.”

Simpson began his time at Buford as defensive coordinator, during the time it won three state titles from 2001-03. With Simpson as defensive coordinator, Buford set a state record with 47 consecutive victories with a 49-0 win against Union County on Sept. 3, 2004 in Blairsville.

Simpson’s only other head coaching position came in 1997 when he led the program at North Paulding. The Wolfpack finished 0-10 that season.

The next year, Simpson moved to Buford to work under Dexter Wood, who resigned as coach but stayed on as athletic director after the 2004 season. Wood still serves as athletic director at Buford.

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