CARSON CITY — In three years, Jason Gray built the Carson City-Crystal football program into winners.
If they are to continue winning, Carson City will be doing so with a new head coach in 2013. On Tuesday, Gray officially resigned as head coach and informed his coaching staff and team he has accepted the same position for Chesaning Union High School.
Carson City finished the 2012 season with a 7-3 overall record and qualified for the postseason for the second time in school history and first time since 1999.
Gray, who lives in Owosso, said the change was to be closer to his family. Gray said it was a difficult decision to make and has been making an hour plus commute each day to Carson City for the past three years.
“This was a very difficult decision to leave Carson City-Crystal. I believe the football program is in a position to be successful year in and year out and there are so many incredible people here that have helped build our program,” he said. “I was very honored and proud to be a part of the Carson City-Crystal communities and I will miss it very much. I will take some incredible memories with me and experiences that I hope will help me be a great coach for Chesaning.”
Chesaning won a Division 4 state football title in 2001, but has just two winning season since. Chesaning also defeated Belding in a thrilling Class B state final game 41-38 in 1998.
Gray, who previously coached at Owosso, was contacted by Chesaning community members regarding the opening of the position.
“I was contacted by some Chesaning community members about their head coaching position being open, so I started to do some research about the community, school, and football program,” Gray said. “Chesaning is a neighboring community to Owosso, so I am very familiar with the success of the football program in the past and how great a community Chesaning is. It is a blue-collar community and I feel I fit great in those communities because my personality is that of a blue-collar worker.”
Gray’s new drive to work will be just 10 minutes.
Gray informed his coaching staff after the Chesaning school board approved the hiring. The coaching staff then called a players meeting to inform them.
“Many of the players were surprised, but they understand that this move puts me much closer to my family,” Gray said. “I have always tried to teach them that life priorities should be ordered faith-family-academics-football in terms of where football stands in life priorities.”
In three seasons Gray went 11-17 overall. They improved from one win in 2011 to seven in 2012. Gray thanked his team for their hard work the past three seasons.
“I shared my sincere gratitude to them for doing everything that I have asked of them for the past three seasons and I assured them that this program is not taking a step back or slowing down for a second,” he said. “This program is about them and this program made the strides that it has because of them and not because of me or any other coach. The players accepted the challenge of doing things they never have done before. The success we had was the result of their hard work.”
Gray will be finishing out the school year at Carson City-Crystal. He said he will offer input on the coaching search and will continue to help the program until a new coach takes over.
“I will offer my input and suggestions about a new coach as I feel we have some strong candidates currently on staff. But, I also know that Larry Farmer will do a great job replacing me and that whoever is chosen as the next head coach will have the support to be successful,” Gray said. “I will help with the transition of the new coach in any way that I can. I will continue the off-season workouts until the new coach can be named and that coach can implement his own off-season program.”
Farmer, who found out about the resignation Tuesday morning, did not have a chance to think of a timeline for a new coach, as of yet.
“I was in meetings all day I haven’t had an opportunity to sit down and think about what I want to do or a timeline for anything,” he said. “Obviously, we will post the position and search for the best candidate, but outside of that I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.”
Farmer did thank Gray for his time as head coach.
“I’m happy for Jason. I think this is a better fit for his family and his life,” he said. “We really appreciate the time he gave us. Coaching is a tough profession nowadays. He left the program in better shape than where it started and that is all you can ask for from a coach.”