For the past eight seasons, win or lose, Fred T. Foard head football coach Ryan Gettys has always found joy in at least one aspect of his job.
“Just being with the guys — that’s what I enjoy most,” he said. “The players hate practice, but that is my favorite time. That is when you are out there teaching and you are really doing football.”
Friday night games, he said, are fun for players and fans, but as a coach, he’d rather be teaching.
“Practice has always been the big thing for me because I got to spend time with the guys,” he said.
Now, as Gettys tenders his resignation as Foard’s football coach after a record of 30-61, he’ll continue as a teacher at the high school.
“It was a surprise to me. Ryan has done a good job,” said Foard Principal Sally Bradshaw. “He is gifted in the way he works with the kids. He is dedicated and instills a strong work ethic in them ... He worked hard to make the kids successful.”
However, his “time with the guys” on Tigers’ sidelines is over. He told the team about his resignation decision on Friday.
“I think right now is a good time to step back and relax for a little bit and see if something else comes up,” he said. “I am going to step aside and take it easy a little bit.”
As he does, he said he’ll get a chance to see his own children play high school sports, including his son Stefan Gettys, who was starting quarterback for Foard last season.
“I loved (coaching Stefan). That has been the hardest thing about (resigning),” Gettys said. “We had conversations at home — this is a family decision. Stefan understands.”
But that doesn’t mean the rising junior hasn’t voiced doubts about his dad’s departure.
“I told him, ‘I am going to be right there with you,’” as Stefan works toward future football seasons, Gettys said.
That might not necessarily translate to a spot in the stands, where he will be able to watch high school as a Foard parent on Friday nights.
“I don’t like the stands,” he said. “Even when things are good, there is too much negativity.”
In spite of the 0-11 record posted during the 2010 season, there have been good times for Foard under Gettys’ guidance.
“I knew coming into it that Foard was not traditionally strong in football. That kind of excited me — trying to turn things around. For the most part we did a pretty good job. We had the second best record in school history in 2008 (9-3),” he said, adding the 2008 team posted a single season scoring record.
In addition to the 2008 playoff squad, Gettys teams also made the state playoffs two other times during his eight seasons, in 2005 and 2006. Combined Foard has made 12, football playoff appearances.
“I think we made some good strides,” he said, admitting the 2010 team “fell off a bit.”
“Things happen. We had a very young team,” be said, “but I really do think Foard is getting better. We have had a strong middle school program, so I think things will continue improving in the next couple of years.”
Bradshaw said the future of the coaching position is uncertain, especially with economic challenges limiting teaching and coaching positions.
"We will work with the county office to see what options we have," she said.
Bradshaw said she expects to work with school athletics leaders and begin a coaching search by Jan. 1.