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John Grass stepping down at Jacksonville State

After eight largely successful seasons, Jacksonville State and its coach decided the Grass would be greener on the other side of the fence.

John Grass is stepping down as Jacksonville State's head coach, he announced Saturday following a 40-25 win over Abilene Christian on Saturday.

First hired as JSU's offensive coordinator in 2013, he ascended to the head coaching role when Bill Clark took the UAB job the following year. 

His nearly eight full seasons at the helm were extraordinarily successful. The Gamecocks went 72-26 with six Ohio Valley Conference championships and a trip to the FCS National Championship in 2015. The team reached the FCS playoffs in all but one of his full seasons and reached the quarterfinals during the 2021 spring season. Grass went 47-7 in OVC play.

In a year where mid-season exits have become a flash point within the coaching profession -- Ed Orgeron finishes his season, Gary Patterson does not -- Grass expressed gratitude for his journey and his ending. 

"I got to do this my way, and I'm thankful that I got to do it my way. I got to tell my whole team yesterday, the staff. They were a little shocked but it went really well.

"John 18:11. The cup which the Father has given me, shall I drink it. There's a life lesson in that. A lot of times the hand you're dealt, ain't nothing you can do about it, but you've got to drink it."

The 2022 season will be one of transition Jacksonville, Alabama, based school. Jacksonville State will play its first and final season in the Atlantic Sun before moving to FBS and Conference USA in 2023, it will break ground on expanding JSU Stadium, and it will bring in a new head coach.

"With an exciting time on the horizon for Jacksonville State and Gamecock Football, we feel that the interest in our head coaching position will greater than it ever has been," AG Greg Seitz said. "We will begin a nationwide search for our next coach, who will lead us into the FBS."