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LaGrange Names New Head Football Coach | News

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LaGrange Names New Head Football Coach
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LAGRANGE, GA (Troup County School System News Release) -- Just days after the news broke that Steve Pardue is stepping down as the head coach of the LaGrange High School football team, Donnie Branch has been named as the new Granger leader.  After 17 seasons as the head coach - with Branch serving as defensive coordinator the entire time - Pardue decided it was time to make a change, meaning big changes for Branch as well.

"I am extremely honored to be named the head football coach at LaGrange High," said Branch.  "My first choice was to continue to be the defensive coordinator for the best football coach in the state of Georgia (Steve Pardue); however God has a different plan for Steve."

Branch came to LaGrange High in 1986 after working and coaching at Wheeler County High School in Alamo, Georgia for two years.  He became the head coach of the varsity baseball team in 1989 and the varsity football defensive coordinator in 1994.  In addition to assisting Pardue in the win of three state championships and eight region championships in football, Branch has earned a string of successes in baseball as well.  Under his direction, the Grangers captured the 2004 AAA State Championship and 6 region championships. Branch has amassed 478 wins in his tenure as the baseball coach and was inducted into the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame in 2009, the highest honor for a high school baseball coach in Georgia.

"We are excited and consider ourselves fortunate to have Coach Donnie Branch step up to assume the head coaching position," said LaGrange High Principal Steve Cole.  "Coach Branch has the wisdom, talent, and experience we feel are necessary to lead the program. He is surrounded by a strong team of experienced coaches who have a passion for Granger football and the quality of play that all have come to enjoy and expect. Above all, Coach Branch and his coaching staff will continue to set and model the kind of honesty, integrity, and values that are characteristic of LaGrange High School and the LaGrange High School coaching staff."

Branch is originally from Anniston, Alabama.  He and his wife Angie, who teaches at Franklin Forest Elementary School, have two children.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Alabama where he was a four-year letterman in baseball.  He went on to earn his Master's degree from Troy State University.  At LaGrange High, Branch serves as the in-school suspension lead teacher.

"I never really felt like Donnie worked for me; it was always that we worked together," said Pardue.  "From the first day I met Donnie in 1991, we hit it off.  We share very similar philosophies on the game of football and life.  I am really excited about him being the head football coach at LaGrange High School.  He will do a great job."

"It has been an honor to work for Steve as he guided a storied program to even greater heights," said Branch.  "I have had a great mentor and I will use all the things that I have learned to keep this program great.  The Granger nation can rest assured that we will be as strong as ever in the classroom, and both on and off the field."

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