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York steps down as coach to become Georgiana principal

GEORGIANA — When Keith York paced the sidelines shouting instructions to his football team during The Battle for Butler County spring game Saturday, he knew it could be his last chance to coach the Panthers.

His feelings were right after he was approved by the Butler County Board of Education on Monday to become Georgiana High's principal on a permanent basis.

"I'll still be there, just in a different capacity," York said.

So now York's first order of business as new principal will be to lead the search for a new head football coach. York spent five seasons as the Panthers' head coach.

The cupboard certainly won't be bare either for the next football coach.

The Panthers return a strong nucleus of players led by All-State running back Zane Stackhouse. Georgiana also is coming off a 5-6 season following a first-round playoff loss to Luverne.

"I feel good about how this program has evolved," York said. "I think I'm leaving this program in pretty good shape for the next coach."

The news of York's stepping down as head football coach will be of no surprise to his players since he told his squad what the ramifications would be if he were to be named the school's new principal.

York takes over as principal after being named acting principal following the untimely death of Roland Pettie.

Although York would not say who is on his list of potential candidates, he told the Advocate Monday at the board meeting that he would be making phone calls that night.

"I want to have a good, quality coach as soon as possible," he said.

The new coach will not have to look over his shoulders for York's approval either.

"Whoever comes in, it will be their football team and their football program," York said. "Football was my priority for five years here and now. This school and all of the children here are now my top priority."

What will York miss most about being a football coach?

"I'll miss the closeness with the kids," he said. "But I'll be around and see them every day of the year. I'm not going anywhere."

York served as assistant football coach before being named head football coach five years ago.

This is York's first assignment as school principal. He was assistant principal for a year at Hillcrest High in Evergreen before being assistant principal under Pettie for the last three years.