Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

December 12, 2012

Lanier County’s David Ward set to retire

Search for school’s fourth coach in five seasons underway

LAKELAND — Lanier County football coach David Ward has submitted his football resignation and plans to retire at the end of the academic year.

With Ward’s announced retirement, Lanier County is once again actively searching for a new head football coach.

“I want to retire,” said Ward, when speaking with The Times on Tuesday. “I’ve been in this mess since 1979. It is time to retire. I’m 60 years old. I have a lot of grandchildren, my wife is retired and I just felt now would be a good time, instead of waiting until the spring. It gives (Lanier County) plenty of time to search and find a new, young football coach.”

The open job vacancy marks the third straight year, and fourth in five years, Lanier County has been forced to search for a new football coach.

After Wade Beale, who took over the program in 2009, stepped down from the position following the 2010 season, Brent Miller guided the Bulldogs to a 6-4 record in 2011,  the most wins in school-history, before retiring last summer.

With less than a full summer to prepare for the upcoming season,  Ward took over the program and coached the Bulldogs to a 2-8 record, losing their final six games by a combined 170 points.  

“I’m not mad at anybody,” Ward said. “I enjoyed my time here and I am grateful for the opportunity. I just felt like this was the right time to step down and retire.”

With a roster that featured seven seniors, six juniors and 22 underclassmen this past season, Ward said now was the right time to retire and allow Lanier County to hire a new, young coach that can building a winning tradition.

“I want somebody to come in right now when there is a good nucleus of ninth and 10th graders,” Ward said. “They have a chance to win. I want them to get somebody young in here that is a little more vibrant.”

Ward will continue to teach at Lanier County High School through the rest of the academic year and continue his duties until a new coach is hired.

“I turned in my football resignation,” Ward said. “I’ll continue to do my duties until the new coach gets here, whenever that is. I’ll retire when the school year is out.”

Ward is currently a weight training and health teacher at Lanier County. According to the job posting on TeachGeorgia.org, the school system is looking for a head football coach that has the ability to teach Health and Physical Education.

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