After years as a successful varsity boys soccer coach, Scott Luthart had to be sold on the idea of making a switch.
Three years later, he hasn’t regretted it for a moment.
Forsyth County’s girls soccer coaches named Luthart the County Coach of the Year for the third year in a row, after he led the Lady Longhorns to the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs in the 2012 season.
Lambert has won at least one postseason game each year since the program first took the field in 2010. During that time, the Lady Longhorns also collected a region championship and made an appearance in the state semifinals.
"It’s an honor and a privileged to be [chosen] by your peers," Luthart said. "I respect all the coaches in this county.
"Coaches are only as good as their players, and [our girls have] ... really set a good tradition right off the bat for our school. Anything I’ve asked out of the girls over the last three years, they’ve went above and beyond my expectations."
Luthart describes Forsyth County as a "soccer county," where players typically come into the varsity program well-prepared from time on club teams.
"I think with [the county’s] affluence comes a lot of support from the parental side of things as far as being willing [and able] to put your kids in an environment where they can excel, whether it be extra training or specialized technical camps," he said.
Luthart previously coached at Grayson High School in Gwinnett County. While there he earned numerous honors, including two state coach of the year awards after leading the Rams to a share of the state championship in 2004.
As his daughter grew closer to entering high school, Luthart and his wife decided they wanted to move to an area with a smaller school system.
Luthart had heard good things about Forsyth County and its school system, so he sought the advice of a former — and now current — soccer rival.
"[South Forsyth soccer coach] Tom Braun is who got me out this way, honestly," Luthart said. "We were working soccer camps together five or six years ago and I kind of inquired with him how he liked Forsyth, because we had been rivals when he was at Central Gwinnett and I was at Grayson.
"He said ‘Listen, the best professional move I’ve ever made was to come out to Forsyth.’ He was really the one that switched me on to the idea of coming out here in the first place."
Lambert ultimately lured both of Grayson’s soccer coaches away, as Chris Wilson also swapped his position with the Rams for one with the Longhorns.
But Wilson, who served as the head coach of the girls team at Grayson, suggested he and Luthart might be better off making yet another change — switching which gender of players they coached.
"It was Chris’ idea," Luthart said. "He made the point that the fit, personality-wise, [him coaching boys and me coaching girls] might be better for both of us.
"I kind of resisted that switch initially because all I’d ever known [at the varsity level] was coaching boys, but the more I thought about it I thought ‘He’s on to something here,’ and I haven’t second guessed [the decision] once.
"It was definitely the right move to make."
Luthart and Wilson have continued to serve as assistant coaches for each other’s teams, as they did at Grayson, and guided the Lambert boys to a state championship and the top ranking in the nation this season.
Luthart said that while the success he’s had on the field has been rewarding, he’s most proud of the life lessons he’s been able to impart on his players.
"I think our performance on the field speaks for itself, and we have a high-quality product," Luthart said.
"Championships are great. I’ve been part of three of them up to this point ... but I just feel fortunate to be able to influence kids at a very impressionable age in lots of different areas, and kind of use soccer sometimes to get that across."