This story was updated Monday, May 24, 2021, at 7:15 p.m. with more information.
John Starr has stepped down as head football coach at Howard High School after five seasons with the program. He informed the team Monday afternoon.
"It was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make," Starr said. "You build relationships with the kids and it's hard to tell them you're leaving. But the pandemic has done some things mentally to a lot of us and I just feel like it's time to hit the reset button and step away.
"We've had a drop in our overall number of players so I decided it may be time for someone else to come in and bring a new energy to the program. It's doable because there is a great foundation to build on. We started nine sophomores and have almost the whole starting lineup on both sides of the ball coming back so there's talent there and a great group of young men to work with."
When Starr was hired, Howard had not won more than two games in any of its previous five seasons. He guided the Hustlin' Tigers to the playoffs in three of his years as coach and compiled an overall record of 26-27.
Starr earned a reputation for rebuilding programs during a career that spanned 30 years at Georgia schools prior to coming to Howard. Starr guided Georgia's Josey High to the 1995 Class AAA state championship and later turned around a Chattooga program that had appeared in the playoffs four times in 20 years, taking the Indians to six playoff trips in his eight seasons.
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.