Watauga football coach resigns
by Staff Reports
Pruitt, who was coach at Watauga from 2008-2011, talked to his players Thursday, but took the weekend to make his final decision before making his departure official. He led Watauga to a 7-6 record last season and the second round of the playoffs.
Pruitt said the main reason for him leaving is so his wife can move closer to her family. That place is Cherryville, where they met when he was the head coach at Cherryville High School in 2002.
Pruitt would not say if he had a job lined up in the Cherryville area.
"The main reason why I'm going to Cherryville is because it's a chance for my wife to be closer to her family," Pruitt said. It's a chance for her to be near her family and for the kids to be closer to their grandparents."
Pruitt finished with a 21-27 record with the Pioneers. That included three trips to the playoffs, including last year when Watauga beat rival Alexander Central in the first round, but lost to a good Mooresville team in the second round.
Pruitt said that it was very satisfying to reach the playoffs after finishing in second place in the Northwestern Conference. He said the new coach will have plenty to work with in 2012.
"There's a good group of kids left," Pruitt said. "The new coach is going to have plenty of talent to work with."
Pruitt took over Watauga's program in 2008, one season after Watauga made the state 4-A Western Regional finals for the second straight year. However, Watauga endured heavy graduation from the 2007 team, led by all-time leading rusher Eric Breitenstein.
Still, the Pioneers, led by quarterback Devan Corum and running back Baine Martin, finished 5-7 and reached the playoffs, where they lost to Crest in the first round.
"That first year we started out 5-1 and then went through a six-game losing streak," Pruitt said. "The players kept working and they stayed together."
Watauga principal Marshall Gasperson has his work cut out for him to find a new coach in time for summer weight lifting workouts and eventual 7-on-7 scrimmages.
Pruitt knows it's a tough time to find a new coach, but feels Watauga is a good place for a cocah to work.
"It's never a good time to leave," he said.
He also appreciated the support he received from the Watauga community.
"The support was tremendous," Pruitt said. "The kids worked their tails off for the program. One example of that was this year. Expectations were not that high and we passed all expectations."
After coaching in Cherryville, Pruitt coached at West Wilkes from 2003-2007 before moving to Watauga.