After four seasons at North Forsyth High School, Jared Zito was set to be introduced today as the next head football coach at Dacula.
In an interview prior to his official introduction at the Gwinnett County school, Zito said accepting the job felt like the best decision for him and his family.
Zito, 36, will succeed Kevin Maloof, who had led Dacula since 1991 before stepping down due to health concerns.
Dacula plays in the all-Gwinnett Region 8-AAAAA, with state powers such as Brookwood, Grayson and Parkview.
"Certainly, we're in great company in terms of outstanding programs, athletes, well-coached teams and great communities," Zito said.
"We're just going to try to do our part to be competitive with those guys and continue to build the program that's already there."
The Raiders were 18-24 during Zito's four years at the helm, including 5-6 last season as they earned a second straight playoff berth in state Class AAAAA.
The Dacula program, Zito said, has the same small-town feel and strong community support he enjoyed at North.
He thanked the administrators, players and parents in Coal Mountain for their support.
"North Forsyth is a great place and it's a great program, and I think they're in a place now where someone else can come in and they can continue to rise up and do things," he said.
North athletic director Nathan Turner said the school has begun a search for Zito's replacement.
As of this afternoon, the school had received more than 80 applications. The goal is to name a new coach by mid-February.
"We thank Jared Zito for all his efforts and time here at North Forsyth High School and appreciate his leadership in leading our young men and leading us into a great situation in the playoffs," Turner said.
For much more on this story, see the next edition of the Forsyth County News.