When Mike Paul took over the head coaching job at Jefferson High School in 2006, he passed out a calendar to each of his players.
In the caption on each page, Paul put the words “Dare to dream.”
“Taking over the program in its second year, they had won fewer than five matches,” said Paul. “So putting that on the calendar seemed comical. But I think we achieved those dreams.”
Paul announced his resignation as head coach Monday night in an email sent to local media, saying that he was leaving to accept a special education teaching job at Wade Hampton High School in Varnville, S.C. He will begin the position this month.
Paul thanked the officials, coaches, faculty, parents and players he met along the way during his nine years with the Dragons, where he accumulated a 277-121 record with eight state tournament appearances. His teams were ranked in the state’s top 10 each year for since 2009.
Paul has coached high school sports for 32 years, including 25 years of basketball. He enjoyed stints as a basketball coach at Gainesville High and Chestatee High.
Paul said he hoped that his former players learned how to be “future adults” from him, and if he taught them a little about volleyball along the way, “that was extra.”
“Hopefully, the legacy is that these girls will be an influential part of the community,” said Paul.
The move should help Paul keep in touch with his daughter Maggie, who is a vocal performance major at Georgia Southern.
Paul said that Wade Hampton has not yet reached out to offer him a coaching position, but mentioned that he would likely coach if he was asked.
“It’s just a matter of when the time is right,” he said.
Paul helped Jefferson reach the state semifinals in 2013 and the quarterfinals in 2015.