4 Questions with Hebron Christian head coach Jonathan Gess

Today’s interviewee is new Hebron Christian coach Jonathan Gess, whose Class 3A team is 4-0, matching the Lions’ victory total of 2021. Gess was head coach at Eagle’s Landing Christian from 2007 to 2021 and won 160 games and six Class A championships. He took the job at Hebron, a Gwinnett County private school, in March.

1. The question you’ve practiced answering many times this year: Why did you decide to leave ELCA for Hebron Christian? Did you discover the job opening and pursue it, or did Hebron approach you? “The athletic director at Hebron called me. The Lord places us in different places for different seasons of our life. I had been at ELCA a long time, 15 years, and we had a great run. I am only 43 years old and saw a great opportunity at Hebron to go and build something great. I loved the head of school, James Taylor, and the AD, Taylor Davis, and the vision they have for the school and athletic programs.”

2. Is there some things about building a winner at a small private school that would be different than at other schools? “I think what it takes to win at any place and at any level is getting people to buy in and getting them to work. That was my main focus when I got here, to get the kids who were coming back to get to work and believe they can become something great. Obviously to win, you need great players, but you have to get those great players to believe in hard work and that they can actually be great.”

3. Your quarterback, Gavin Hall, is near the top of the leaderboard in rushing yards statewide and having a fantastic year. What would you want people to know about him and his skill set? How is his recruiting going? “After I accepted the job from the head of school and told him I was taking the job, my first meeting was with Gavin. He and I have built a great relationship. Gavin was already amazingly talented. I am able to help him by letting him use his gifts and talents in an offense that is built around him. Gavin is an extremely hard worker and has a will to be great. He can run and throw. He is the hardest-working kid on the team. He has bought in to growing as a leader. He makes other people around him better. I knew he was here, but I didn’t actually know he was this good. Recruiting-wise, it is picking up for him. He doesn’t have any offers yet, but Boston College, Coastal Carolina, App State and a few more are real interested. Gavin can play QB or any skill position on the field. He can play at the Power 5 level.”

4. What’s been the reception of the school and parents and student body to how the team has performed so far? “Of course, everyone loves you when you’re winning. The parents bought in before we started to win. It started back in March and this summer. The people here want to win and be great. The students that don’t play football want us to be great. I think the sky is the limit for what we can do here.”

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