After a pair of 2-8 seasons, Forsyth Central head football coach David Rooney will be stepping down from the role in a decision announced Tuesday.
In a letter to the "Forsyth Football Family," Rooney stated that he will be retiring from coaching football after more than three decades but will remain at FCHS in his DECA/marketing teacher capacity.
"This was a difficult decision," Rooney wrote. "I have been blessed the past 31 years to have a career that involved something that I totally love, that is, teaching student athletes about integrity, hard work, teamwork and many other character traits for success by using the greatest and ultimate team sport, a game I love, football. Through this game, the biggest privilege I had was getting to know and work with so many great people (coaches, players, and parents) that have had a positive impact on my life.
"There are also those that allowed me to share in their journey and have a positive impact in their success, which has always been the biggest joy for me. There are many coaches that I have learned so much from, not only how to be a better football coach, but how to be a good person. Most importantly, all the players I have had the opportunity to work with and have built a strong relationship with. The love and respect we have for each other is amazing. I hope I was able to lead, teach, and motivate them as much as they did me."
Rooney took over the head-coaching role in 2021, following the retirement of Frank Hepler. For three years prior, Rooney served as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach under Hepler.
Despite opening both of Rooney's seasons in charge with victories (against Northview in 2021 and Chattahoochee in 2022), the Bulldogs only once more during each campaign. Overall, Forsyth Central went 0-11 in Region 6-7A during Rooney's tenure.
"When I accepted this role," Rooney wrote, "I believed that this program could be a consistent winning program, capable of being a playoff team every year. I still feel strongly that will happen in the near future."
Rooney thanked several groups of people in his resignation letter, including the school's administration. He specifically called attention to principal Josh Lowe and athletic director Dan Kaplan for the "opportunity and support to lead" the Bulldogs.
Both Lowe and Kaplan also released statements.
"I appreciate all David Rooney has done for the Forsyth Central community and football program," Kaplan wrote. "He is the most positive person I have ever met in the coaching profession while always representing himself with class and dignity. He has been an outstanding role model for all those he has affected in such an optimistic manner, he will be missed."
Lowe noted that the process of searching for a new head coach would begin soon.
"While this season has been tough on the field, coach Rooney has continued to challenge our team to be its very best," Lowe wrote in his statement. "Coach Rooney is an excellent coach and teacher, but an even better person. He has worked diligently both on the field and off to develop our student-athletes, and we truly appreciate his contributions to our school. We wish David and his entire family all of the best."
Before joining the Forsyth Central coaching staff in 2018, Rooney spent 11 years at West Forsyth. The Boston College product's only other head-coaching experience came at Taravella High in Coral Springs, Florida.
"I would like to thank my coaching staff for working with me and always having my back," Rooney wrote. "And of course, I would like to thank the players for allowing me to be their head coach. Lastly, I would like to thank all the parents that volunteered and supported me, the coaches, and the program. Your support means more than I can express."