The way he sees it, Grant Reynolds has always believed his role as a coach consists of more than just on-field decisions and diagramming X's and O's. For Reynolds, his job is to also mentor by sharing his Christian faith with the young men on his teams.
For the past four seasons, as the head football coach at East Hamilton High School, Reynolds remained successful on the field but felt something was lacking because of the restrictions public schools place on not permitting religious discussions by faculty with students.
On Tuesday morning Reynolds announced that he is stepping down as the Hurricanes coach to accept an offer to take over the program at Chattanooga Christian School.
"God has blessed me by opening a door at CCS," Reynolds said. "My coaching career began in Christian education and I'm excited to return to a school that places an emphasis on discipleship and has a vision for continued growth along with the resources necessary to be successful in this league for years to come.
"I am thankful for (CCS athletic director) Daniel Russell and his willingness to allow me to be a part of that vision and build on the Chargers' success."
Reynolds succeeds Phil Massey, who stepped down two weeks ago to accept an offer to return to his Memphis roots and coach at Briarcrest. In his only season as the Chargers coach, Massey helped them set a program record for overall wins (10) and guided CCS to its first state semifinal appearance.
In four seasons at East Hamilton, Reynolds has gone 32-15, including 21-3 against region competition, and last year guided the Hurricanes to the Class 4A quarterfinals. East Hamilton had gone 12-20 in the three years prior to Reynolds taking over, but he averaged eight wins per season during his time there.
Prior to taking over the East Hamilton program, Reynolds worked for three seasons at Madison Academy near Huntsville, Alabama, where he went 28-8 with two region championships and a Class 4A state runner-up finish in 2016.
Before that, in 11 seasons as head coach at Boyd Buchanan, he guided the Buccaneers to nine region titles and 10 playoff appearances, reaching the quarterfinals five times, the semifinals three times and a state final in 2009. He was also the Bucs' defensive coordinator for a three-year stretch of state title game appearances (2002-04) that included a 1A championship in 2003.
Reynolds has been named region coach of the year by various media outlets four times, has had 26 former players earn college scholarships, including a pair of Mr. Football award finalists, and has an overall head-coaching record of 157-67.
"We're excited that Coach Reynolds will serve as our football program's fifth head coach," Russell said. "His record and numerous deep runs in both the Tennessee and Alabama football playoffs offer confidence and excitement to our football community.
"He has a history of success, but more importantly he values Christ-centered education and the impact he can have on athletes and their personal walk with Jesus. During the hiring process, Christian school leaders who know Coach Reynolds personally reached out to express how well he would fit, lead and continue the recent success of football at CCS.
"Coach Reynolds' desire to establish a team culture that builds on and complements what our football staff has set in place will be key to growing our program."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.