Knoxville, TN. (WVLT-TV) -- If the Catholic Fighting Irish football team is going win back to back state championships, they're going have to do it under the guidance of a new head coach.
First reported by our friends at PrepXtra.com, Mark Pemberton has resigned as head football coach at Catholic in order to become athletics director and head football coach at West Laurens High School in Dublin, Georgia.
Pemberton told Sports Overtime's Daryl Hobby it was an opportunity he just couldn't pass on.
"I've always wanted to get into south Georgia football," Pemberton said Tuesday afternoon. "They play great football down there. Not that we don't here, but it's a little different down there. So we're gonna step into the next level and see what we can do."
At Catholic, Pemberton did plenty. In seven years with the Irish, he won 78 of 89 games, as well as this year's Class AAA state championship.
Pemberton built the Irish into a championship caliber program. The idea of doing it again at West Laurens is a big part of his reason to leave.
"It's a new challenge. It gets my juices flowing again. It sort of rejuvenates me... that's part of coaching. That's why you do it."
Pemberton accepted the position Monday night. Today, he told his team. According to rising junior Connor Greer, it was news that was "shocking."
"We heard an announcement," Greer said. "We were told to go to the gym. I thought we were gonna get our picture taken or something. It just came out of the blue. I was just really shocked."