PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Holmes County football has its new head coach.
Jeff Lee was confirmed Friday as the Blue Devils next head coach, taking the reigns from Kevin Womble, whose contract was not renewed after a four year stint and 19-21 overall record with his Alma Mater.
Coach Lee is a veteran coach in Georgia who came south four years ago to take the head football job at North Bay Haven.
After an 0-10 season in 2015, he turned things around with ten wins the next two seasons, including the Bucs first ever playoff berth in 2017. Without much explanation, he was cut loose by North Bay Haven following the season, and he's spent the last year at Bay Haven Middle School away from the sidelines.
"We were looking to try and stay local as much as possible and get back into coaching," Lee said Friday afternoon. "I had that burning desire to coach again. I've been doing administration now for almost a year. We were ready to take our chances and take it back on the road again. We started looking. We were looking in Georgia, we were close in a lot of those situations and we were still in some of them at the time the Holmes County position came open."
Lee said it didn't look like things were going to work out between him and the school at first. After negotiations, they came to an agreement suitable for both parties.
"When it turns around, that shows you how much they appreciate you being there and also what they want for their kids and their community," Lee added. "Being in a one county school, all the kids that are going to play football are going to go to that county (school), and then having control over that and being able to work those things to your advantage, and being in charge, you can't ask for more. It's a pretty good situation."
Lee takes over a program that was 2-7 last season, but 7-4 in 2017.
He's hungry and thankful to be back. After sitting out a year, his focus is renewed.
"You know now even more so what those last 34 years meant to you and what now you can do moving forward. That's the exciting part, what the future holds. Taking this year off made me reevaluate a lot of things and I'm excited and guess I'm kind of blessed for having that opportunity to have that happen."
Lee will be formally introduced to players, the school, and the community Monday evening.