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High school soccer: Johnson's Brian Shirley steps down as coach after 11 seasons

The soccer dynasty for the Johnson High boys will likely continue, but it will be under a new coach starting this spring. After 11 seasons in charge in Oakwood, Brian Shirley stepped down Friday from his position after guiding the Knights to a 2018 state championship, two state runner-up finishes and seven region championships. 

“Today has been a very difficult day,” Shirley said. “One of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

“But I owe it to all parties involved — to my boys, to myself, and most importantly, to my family — to the best I can be. I know that I have done things the right way, and I can be proud of that. It has been a heck of a ride the last 11 years.”

Under Shirley, the Knights had a 174-37-8 record and were yearly one of the top public school programs in any classification. 

Shirley’s Knights won 20 matches in a season twice (2014 and 2018).

Johnson High athletic director, Tony Wagner, expressed his gratitude for Shirley’s hard work. 

“We at Johnson can’t thank coach Shirley enough for his dedication, work ethic, and heart for our young people, our school, and our community. He rebuilt the Johnson boys soccer program and established a brand that was easily recognizable and respected throughout the state of Georgia. We are thankful for the 11 years he served as head coach, and even more thankful he will still be involved in the lives of our student-athletes.”

Shirley plans on remaining on the staff at South Hall Middle, according to Wagner.

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