VALDOSTA, Ga. (Courtesy: Valdosta State Blazers) - After a nine year period as the head football coach at Valdosta State, which led to two National Titles, six NCAA Postseason appearances, and one Gulf South Conference Championship, David Dean announced his resignation on Wednesday after accepting a position as the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Georgia Southern, pending final approval.
"I've been coaching for 28 years, and 20 of those were spent at Valdosta State," said Dean on Wednesday morning. "This is a special place, and the decision to leave was a very very difficult one. Valdosta has a great community, and that's something I'm going to miss greatly."
Dean closes out his career as the winningest football coach in Valdosta State history after a tremendous 9-3 campaign in 2015 that lifted the veteran coach to 79 wins against just 27 losses, a win total that surpassed Chris Hatcher's previous total for most career wins at Valdosta State.
"I've had an opportunity to coach a lot of great players and coach alongside a lot of great coaches that have come through here and gone on to the next level in Division I and the NFL," added Dean. "It's been a great, positive experience, and I can't say enough about the kids I've had a chance to coach and the coaches I've worked with. As I said before, Valdosta State is a special place, and it always will be. I know this program will continue to roll and do well in the years to come."
After serving as an offensive coordinator for the program from 2000-06, Dean earned a promotion into the head position and hit the ground running. He led the Blazers to a National Championship during his first season as a head coach in 2007 and reclaimed the title again just five years later in 2012. In the process, Dean helped a myriad of incredible student-athletes reach their full potential, resulting in 27 All-America honorees and 66 All-Gulf South Conference players under his leadership.
Reflecting on his time at Valdosta State, the two-time AFCA Coach of the Year (2007 and 2012) commended the Valdosta community for their sustaining support of VSU Football.
"There is a strong core of fans that not only support football, but also all of the programs at Valdosta State. Whether it's at games, radio shows, the Blazer Walk, or a sendoff for the team, you see those people supporting these student-athletes. Considering what these players go through in order to be successful and compete, the support is something that is deserved and has been incredible from the community."
In a sentiment shared by the VSU Athletic Staff, Valdosta State's Director of Athletics, Herb Reinhard, expressed his thoughts about Dean's departure.
"David's nine year run as our head football coach has been extremely successful," said Reinhard. "While his overall record is certainly impressive, our NCAA playoff record (12-4) under him is simply outstanding. We have been blessed at VSU to have a number of very successful head football coaches, David certainly ranks among the top. Not many coaches around the country have won two national championships. I am proud of David's success with our football program at VSU, and I wish him the best in his new position at Georgia Southern."
Due to the timing of the events that have unfolded over the course of the last few days, Dean commented on his regret of not having the opportunity to address his players.
"From a leaving standpoint, the thing that hurts the most is that I won't have an opportunity to step up in front of the team and let them know what the situation is. It's one thing I regret that can't happen since our guys aren't back at school yet."
Dean made special mention of the significance of the roles that his players have played during his successful run at Valdosta State.
"As a coach, you have an opportunity to see kids come in wet behind the ears, grow up in four years, and leave here as men. It's probably the most satisfying part of being a college coach, seeing guys not only become leaders on a football team but also become leaders in the community. To hear a former player tell you thank you for everything you've done, that's equally as satisfying, if not more satisfying, than a win. It's rewarding when I discover that I've made an impact on on player's life, because they've certainly all had an impact on mine."
Reinhard addressed plans regarding a search for the next head football coach.
"We will begin a search for a new head coach immediately, and I am confident that we will find the right person to continue to build on our rich tradition of success at Valdosta State," added Reinhard.