Written by Journalism Staff Reporter Martha Perez
At the Friday, September 22nd, Country vs Country Club themed football game between Allatoona High School and Rome High School, it was announced that the Stadium field would be named after long time and beloved former Head Coach, Gary Varner. From opening the doors of Allatoona in 2008, Coach Varner formed the football program, and a very successful one at that. Known for his caring personality, he helped countless students and athletes succeed throughout the years.
Announcing his retirement this past Spring, Coach Varner marked 15 remarkable years at Allatoona. He embodied the drive to excel and be at the top of our league, impacting many along the way. Principal Mrs. Candace Wilkes says, “He has set the standard for academic performance, and I believe it has created that culture of ‘we can do it’ at Allatoona, not just in football, but anywhere.” As the school first opened, he worked hard in not only creating a football program but building it up. In only eight years, with his hard work and dedication he was able to take Allatoona to the 2015 State Championship and win. As a tremendous accomplishment for the school and himself, he continued pushing his players, ultimately leading the team to the State Championships once again in 2019.
Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Mrs. Amie Howard says, “There is no one more deserving to have something named after them than Coach Varner is. He truly does care about his kids and the school.” Coach Varner served as an inspiration not only to his students, but to his colleagues as well. Baseball Head Coach Keith Hansen says, “He was always very helpful to the other coaches in the building, being levelheaded and giving us good advice.” Even with an impressive career, Coach Varner is recognized by many for his humility. His wife and CTAE teacher Mrs. Emily Varner says, “It is a great honor that they chose him. We feel humbled and grateful, and he feels very honored by everyone and the school to have been chosen. Allatoona has become like a family to us, the teachers, athletes, the band, and their families,” adding, “He was totally embarrassed when his name was announced because everyone was staring, he does not like being the center of attention, but he is extremely honored by this.” With the naming of the field, Coach Varner will be remembered for not only who he is, but for what he has done for our school. He laid down the foundation for what Allatoona has become and allowed for our football team to prosper.
Photos by Niblet Photography