TRION, Ga. — Justin Brown has spent two-thirds of his life in Trion, so his recent decision to resign as Trion High School's head football coach to explore new opportunities wasn't an easy one to make.
Brown, a 1982 Trion graduate for whom the 2019 season was his 12th on the sideline with the Bulldogs — the past eight as their head coach — resigned this week. Eight years away from full retirement age for his teaching position in Georgia, Brown believes the timing is right to take a new path.
"Like I told the guys, in the football world, 12 years is a long time," he said. "My son graduated last year and my daughter this year, so I think it's a perfect opportunity to go, look around and see what other opportunities are out there.
"I'm not stepping away from coaching. I will be coaching somewhere next year."
Brown coached the Bulldogs to 53 wins and seven playoff appearances in eight seasons. His teams twice made the state semifinals and won at least five games every year.
"We are extremely proud of that success," he said. "There have definitely been a bunch of highs. The tradition was here before I started coaching and has been here a long time.
"I've been very blessed to have coached some great kids here. It's a great place to work and live. I've also had the opportunity to work with some great guys."
Principal Bryan Edge commented on the departure in a statement released by the school: "On behalf of the administration and athletic department of Trion City Schools, we would like to sincerely thank coach Justin Brown for his 12 years of dedicated service to the school system as both a coach and teacher."
Brown hopes to have a coaching position before spring football practices begin across Georgia.
"I definitely want to stay in Georgia," he said. "I've had a whole lot of calls and texts from coaching friends all across the state. I had four offers when the sun went down yesterday, something that makes me feel good about what we've done here.
"It's extremely flattering, but it's about the work my coaches have put in and how hard the kids worked and played for me. I've been extremely blessed."