Pinecrest Academy's football team will have a new face on their sidelines this fall, though not a completely unfamiliar one.
Shawn Coury was announced Tuesday as the Paladins' head football coach, following Terance Mathis' resignation.
Coury spent nine years at Pinecrest before leaving in 2016 to become head coach at Holy Spirit Prep in Atlanta.
"This is I guess a place that I've always wanted to be, and an opportunity that I've always wanted to have," Coury said. "I was here in the past and a part of this community, and I love this community. The opportunity presented itself, I applied and went through the interview process, I was blessed to receive the job offer and gladly accepted. So, I'm kind of back home, in my own mind."
Coury will also be Pinecrest's interim athletic director, a role filled by Chris Kane since 2015. Kane will remain at the school, where he will continue teaching social studies.
Kane, who was hired by Pinecrest in 2008, helped build the Paladins' soccer programs into state powers before relinquishing the title five years ago to become the schools' full-time athletic director.
"Shawn is a great leader, he's a Pinecrest guy and I'm thrilled that they made the decision to bring him back," Kane said. "I think it's only positive things for not only the football program but for the Pinecrest community."
The Paladins have reached new heights the past few years. Mark Metz won the school's first GHSA state championship last year when he captured the 103-pound title in wrestling, then won again in February and was joined by his brother, Joe Metz, who won at 152 pounds.
Pinecrest's girls soccer team fell two goals shy of a state championship last spring, while the Paladins' boys basketball team reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, including a run to the Class 1A Private Elite Eight in February.
Coury will inherit a Pinecrest football team that finished 2-8 last year and 7-25 during Mathis' three-year span.
Coury, who compiled a 4-16 record in two seasons at Holy Spirit Prep, served as an assistant coach at Cherokee last year, helping the Warriors to the second round of the Class 7A playoffs.
Coury also had coaching stints at South Forsyth and West Forsyth.
Unable to meet in person, Coury said he relied on Google Hangouts to facilitate his introductory team meeting.
"It's great because, even though I can't meet with them face to face, at least I can see them on the screen and start to put names with faces and build relationships through those Google meetings," Coury said. "We've kind of hit the ground running, but just in a virtual sense, to the best of our ability."
This fall, Coury will be one of four new head football coaches across Forsyth County, joining Lambert's Tommy Watson, West Forsyth's Dave Svehla and Denmark's Mike Palmieri.
Coury said he is still ironing out his coaching staff, but mentioned he will bring in Patsy Gliatta as the Paladins' assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach. Gliatta served as West Forsyth's quarterbacks coach last year.
While Coury is meeting many of his players for the first time, he's returning to a school where he began cultivating relationships more than a decade ago.
"There's still a lot of the same families and a lot of the same faculty members that I worked with in the past, that I had really good relationships with," Coury said. "In that sense, I'm excited to be with old friends. That's a unique blessing in and of itself, because a lot of times you take a head coaching job and you go to a community that you don't know, and a big part of those first few weeks is kind of your impression and their impression and you getting to know each other and everybody trying to figure each other out.
"It's really a blessing to walk back into some place where you know so many people that you can kind of just get right to work."