The longest tenured varsity football coach in Forsyth County is stepping down after seven seasons.
Chris Bennett resigned as Forsyth Central’s head coach Tuesday morning, four days after the Bulldogs (2-8) ended the season with a 53-21 loss to No. 7-ranked Kell.
"It’s a great place to be," Bennett said of Central.
"I went to school here, I grew up here, I love this place and everything about it, but the bottom line is that I didn’t achieve the things I wanted to achieve here. It was time to give someone else a shot ... and I see a bright future for Forsyth Central."
The Bulldogs have gone 20-50 since Bennett took over the program in 2006, but the program’s struggles began following the 2001 season, when it went 7-4 and lost in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs. That was the last time Central finished with a winning record or reached the postseason.
Central moved to Class 4A in 2002 and went 7-33 over the next four years. The program has also spent three seasons in Class 5A since Bennett became the coach, including the 2012 season.
The Bulldogs’ best season under Bennett came in 2008, when the team went 5-5 and missed the state playoffs by one game despite competing in Region 6-AAAA with Marist and Tucker, the two teams who later met to decide the state title.
"Coach Bennett is to be commended for his years of service, dedication and loyalty to not only Forsyth Central Football, but the entire Forsyth Central Athletic Program and Community," Central athletic director Mike Woodard said in a press release.
Bennett graduated from Central in 1989 after setting multiple school passing records as the Bulldogs’ quarterback. He later spent time as the offensive coordinator at North Forsyth prior to returning to his alma mater as head coach.
"It’s been a great experience," Bennett said. "What I cherish most is all the relationships I’ve been able to create."
Bennett said he has not "made any future plans" and intends to remain at Central in his teaching role for now.
Woodard said he intends to begin advertising the vacant position later in the week and begin sorting through candidates sometime after Thanksgiving.
"At this time we’re still trying to get a plan together," Woodard said. "With the timing of it, we’re ahead, of course, of schedule this time of year. We do want to fill it as quickly as possible."