Tift County football coach Noel Dean announced Monday that he will finish the season but won’t return as the Blue Devils’ coach.
Dean’s announcement comes less than a week after the Tift County school board placed superintendent Adam Hathaway and high school principal Chad Stone on administrative leave for unrelated reasons, according to the Tifton Gazette. Their suspensions came in a tense meeting during which community members expressed concern about the football team and Dean, whom Hathaway hired.
“I hope this announcement can bring an end to the drama and distractions that have enveloped our program in recent weeks, allowing our coaches and players to regain their singular focus on the task at hand for the remainder of the season,’’ Dean said Monday in a statement.
Dean, hired in 2021, is a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He won Michigan state titles in 2002, 2004 and 2009 at Lowell High outside of Grand Rapids.
Dean’s first Tift County team finished 6-5, a four-win improvement from the previous season, but is 2-13 since.