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Updated at 11:44 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, with more information.

some text Mark Rose prowls the sidelines. The North Jackson Chiefs hosted the Scottsboro Wildcats in a rivalry game on September 28, 2018.

For the second time in his coaching career, Mark Rose has stepped down from the program he admits is his second home.

Rose announced he is resigning as head football coach at North Jackson High School in Stevenson, Alabama, and will take over the program at Russell County, an Alabama Class 6A school.

"It's back in the area where my wife and I have family, so it's a great area for us, and at the end of the day our goal was to get back closer to the Auburn area where we have kids and grandchildren," Rose said. "North Jackson has been the best thing to happen to me two times, and we'll always have great memories from the relationships we've built there."

Rose's first stint at North Jackson was from 2000 to 2008, when he guided the program to four 10-0 regular seasons and seven region championships — going 54-2 against region opponents during that time. He also led the Chiefs to a Class 4A state runner-up finish in 2002 and had at least one NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision signee in each of his last five years.

He left to take over a Smiths Station program that had just one playoff appearance in 11 years and guided that program to the Class 6A quarterfinals before returning to North Jackson prior to the 2014 season.

In his first season back, one year after a program-worst 2-8 finish, Rose led the Chiefs to a 7-4 season, and over the last four seasons they have gone 33-23 under Rose, including last year's unbeaten regular season and 11-1 finish that included a region title.

In 13 seasons at North Jackson, Rose compiled a 118-33 overall record, and in six of his years with Chiefs he had at least one player sign with an FBS program, including three to Alabama and last season's 4A Alabama back of the year Lee Witherspoon, who signed with Mississippi State.

Rose takes over a Russell County program that has finished 2-8 each of the past two seasons and has no recent history of success.

"I've never been afraid of a challenge," Rose said. "They had struggled at North Jackson before we came back, but we made a big jump and beat (county rival) Scottsboro and the defending state champs that first year, and I'm proud of the shape we're leaving the program in now.

"I feel like my calling is to help kids better their situation, so I'm looking forward to seeing what we can get done there."

North Jackson will begin a search for its new head coach immediately.

"Mark did a great job for us, both on the field and off it," said assistant principal and athletic director Josh Harding. "He's one of those guys who will carry kids all over the country to try and get them recruited. People can see what he does on the field, but that's one of the best things he's done that not everybody knows about.

"We'd like to get the ball rolling on finding our new coach, because our kids are already in the weightroom and getting ready for spring practice. I'm sure the phone lines will blow up just because of the success the program has had."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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