Jeff Herron leaving Grayson (Ga.) after one season for Hanna (S.C.)

Jul 16, 2016; Hoover, AL, U.S.A -- Grayson head coach Jeff Herron during the USA Football 7on7 National Championship -- Photo by Marvin Gentry USA TODAY Sports Images, Gannett ORG XMIT: US 135185 7on7 7/15/2016 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

Grayson head coach Jeff Herron during the USA Football 7on7 National Championship (Photo: Marvin Gentry, USA TODAY Sports)

Jeff Herron, who led Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) to a AAAAAAA state football championship and No. 7 ranking in the Super 25, is leaving after one season.

Herron was announced as the new head coach at TL Hanna High in Anderson (S.C.) on Tuesday. He takes over for Bruce Ollis, who resigned as head coach on Jan. 27 after three years. During his tenure, Hanna went 15-20 and earned a pair of runner-up finishes in the region.

“I am excited for the opportunity to coach at T.L. Hanna; a school with great traditions and passionate fans,” Herron said. “Hanna is a premier program in South Carolina and I’m looking forward to the amazing facilities that are offered in Anderson Five.”

Herron is the only Georgia coach to win state football titles at three different schools (Oconee County in 1999, three at Camden County and last season at Grayson). He owns a 287-52 career record and posted a Georgia state record 58-game regular season winning streak.

Herron will be able to draw his State of Georgia pension in addition to his pay as Hanna’s assistant athletic director and football coach, but there were other big factors in his decision.

“It is a challenge and a different type of challenge,” Herron told USA TODAY. “I like the location, on Lake Hartwell. It puts me an hour and a half closer to my father, who’s 87 and lives by himself (in Southwest Virginia) and an hour and a half closer to my youngest son, who has four years left to play in college (at Carson-Newman in Johnson City, Tenn.). Those were appealing things.

“The superintendent and the principal there are former Georgia guys and I think they really get it. I was really impressed with the commitment they’ve made, not only in football, but with everything in the school district. They’ve built some great facilities and have hired some top-notch people.”

Anderson Five superintendent Tom Wilson called Herron’s hire a win-win for the school and community.

“Hiring someone the caliber of Coach Herron is not only a benefit for T.L. Hanna, but also the Anderson Community,” he said. “I want to thank (Hanna) principal Shawn Tobin and athletic director John Cann for their hard work in the coaching search.”

At Grayson, Herron’s team lost his debut against IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and did not lose again, finishing 14-1. The Rams were loaded with elite players, including quarterback Chase Brice, offensive lineman Will Taylor, linebacker Aaron Brawley, elite wide receiver/cornerback Deangelo Gibbs, linebacker Breon Dixon, defensive back Jamyest Williams and four-star offensive tackle Tony Gray.

Grayson’s 2019 class is filled with high-end prospects, including linebacker Owen Pappoe, ranked as the No. 1 player in Georgia.

“I’m happy for him and hope he does great over there,” Pappoe said.

Herron said winning a state title in his first year made it easier to leave feeling he accomplished something but leaving his players behind was difficult.

“Certainly winning made it easier in some aspects,” Herron said. “At the same time, I had to look at the kids. We had a kid today, a sophomore, Tru Thompson, who squatted 660. Yesterday, we ran 40s and had five kids who ran under 4.4 or 4.4 something. I think the boys really have a chance to win two or three in a row. That’s hard to leave. But you have to do what you think what’s best for your family. … I like the location, I like the salary, but I like to win and I wouldn’t have gone to a place if I didn’t think the parts were there to win.”

Herron replaced Mickey Conn, who left to join his former college teammate and roommate Dabo Swinney at Clemson. Conn helped launch the football program at Grayson in 2000 and has seen the team gradually grow to a state power.

Contributing: Independent Mail

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