With the beginning of high school football's preseason practice less than three weeks away, Meadowcreek's program finds itself in search of a new head coach.
Deario Grimmage announced his resignation earlier this week after guiding the Mustangs the last three seasons.
"On Tuesday, July 8, 2013, after three seasons with the program, Coach Deario Grimmage tendered his resignation as Head Football Coach," read a statement released by Meadowcreek athletics director Don Einolf on Friday. "He stated this was due to personal and family reasons. ... We sincerely appreciate the time and energy Coach Grimmage had dedicated to the program."
This isn't the first time Meadowcreek has had to scramble for a new head coach at such a late date.
Assistant coach Terrone Owens was promoted when then-coach Reggie Perry resigned just days before the 2008 season began to accept a position in administration at Stephenson High School.
Grimmage brought stability to the position when he succeeded David Ward in 2010 and stayed for three seasons, ending a string in which the Mustangs had gone through four coaches in as many seasons.
He cited personal reasons for stepping down with the beginning of another season so close at hand.
"I made the decision after communicating with (Einolf) and principal (Tommy T. Welch) about midweek," Grimmage said. "After evaluating and reflecting a lot, I just felt like it was best for me and my family to step away.
"I reflected a lot about the timing, but I felt like it was the right time to make this decision."
While Meadowcreek was not able to win a game during his tenure -- the Mustangs enter the 2013 season having lost 48 straight games dating back to 2008 -- Grimmage is satisfied that the program is headed in the right direction.
"I know the program is better than when I first got here," Grimmage said. "I gave 150 percent (to the program), and the kids are growing. ... The past three years, we've had kids get the opportunity to play college ball and further their education. And the values and morals are in place. It's been a joy to see those kids (who graduated) come back every summer. I'm confident they've learned a whole lot, and the program is continuing to grow."
While Meadowcreek administration searches for a permanent replacement, it will turn to a familiar face to guide the Mustangs in the meantime.
George Pugh, who served as Meadowcreek's head coach in 2003 and 2004 and had joined Grimmage's staff as associate head coach this summer, will serve as interim head coach until a new coach is selected.
Pugh, who most recently served as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for Georgia State's young college program, said he has no plans to seek the job permanently, but is ready to help the Mustangs in what will be an uncertain time of transition.
"Right now, I'm just trying to solidify the folks at Meadowcreek and get things in place (for preseason practice) and calm the waters, and the waters are a little choppy right now," Pugh said. "Right now, we're going through a transition, and it's a tough, tough deal, especially with Coach Grimmage (leaving). But I'll do it for a lot of reasons."