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High school football: Longtime Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw steps out of retirement to take Lakeview Academy job
Lee Shaw
Lee Shaw

The new football coach at Lakeview Academy needs no introduction to fans in Hall County. 

On Monday, the school hired Lee Shaw, who steered Flowery Branch’s program from the time it opened in 2002 to 2011. He then spent seven seasons at Rabun County before retiring after the 2018 season. 

“Yeah, that (retirement) didn’t last too long, did it?” Shaw said. “I started out watching games from the stands last season at Rabun County, then I ended up standing along the fence, then I was on the field, then I ended up in the coaches’ box. And the night I tried to call a timeout, I figured maybe it was time to get back into coaching.”

“This is very exciting for our school and for our football program,” said Lakeview Academy athletics director Deuce Roark. “His resume speaks for itself. He’s built some incredible programs around this area, does a great job working with the kids at each program and is exactly what we were looking for when the position came open.”

Shaw takes over after Matthew Gruhn, who coached the Lions when the program started in 2006 until stepping down after the 2019 season.

Lakeview Academy’s new coach worked wonders with the Falcons’ program from its inception, winning 10 or more games in seven seasons. The pinnacle of his success came in 2008 when Flowery Branch won four road playoff games and advanced to the state championship game, losing to Cairo 28-14 at the Georgia Dome. 

At Flowery Branch, Shaw compiled a 79-41 mark and made it to the state quarterfinal round four separate times. 

Shaw also led the Falcons during the 2009 season, with his youngest son Connor playing quarterback, into the Class 3A state semifinals against Gainesville. 

Flowery Branch’s biggest jump during Shaw’s time was going from four wins in 2004 to 11 the next season with his oldest son, Jaybo, playing quarterback. 

Shaw, 54, has a 163-94 mark in 22 seasons as a head coach. 

At Rabun County, he revived the program from 6-5 in his first season to running off 11 or more wins in each of his final four seasons in charge. The Wildcats were Class 2A state runner-up in 2017.

When Shaw retired after a state quarterfinal run in 2018, he handed the keys to the program over to his son, Jaybo. 

Now, Shaw gets to return to his roots, which is building programs. 

“I’m still learning the dynamics of this school, but I’ve got a plan I’m going to implement, and where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Shaw said. “I’m a Lakeview Lion as of today, and I’m excited and ready to get to work.”

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