Gardner retires as head coach of Jaguars
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Friday, November 16, 2018
Farmville Central head football coach Scott Gardner announced Friday that he has retired as the head coach of the Jaguars.
Gardner has spent 28 years in coaching, along with the majority of his life, in the Farmville community.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years,” Gardner said. “We’ve had trouble finding coaches and help, so I talked with my wife and prayed about it, and I decided this was the time.”
Gardner’s career in football began when he was eight years old. He advanced through the levels from pee-wee to middle school to playing at FC. He went on to play at Chowan University before returning to Pitt County and attending East Carolina. While in Greenville, he began to coach the Farmville Middle School team before assisting Jaguars and becoming a member of both coaching staffs simultaneously.
“When I look back, I see the games we won, the conference championships, the state regional game, but I think what I’ll remember most is the relationships,” Gardner said. “I’ve made relationships with a lot of people over the years — coaches, players, and I’ll always remember that. I’ll also remember all the kids, watching them grow in the program, graduate and go to college and become productive members of society.”
The changing times were a factor in Gardner’s decision, as the game has continued to change over the course of his coaching career.
“We have some new guys and things are changing,” he said. “I figured it was time to step aside and let someone else try. It gets harder and harder as you get older to find coaches and keep morale up.”
Despite thinking on the choice for several years, stepping away is still tough for a man who has dedicated his life to helping his small town succeed.
“I’ve been a part of Farmville football since I was eight years old. This is a tough choice,” Gardner said. “We have some good athletes here, some building blocks and some great people. For me, I’m going to continue to coach indoor and outdoor track and field. We’ve had some success here lately. I’ll probably do that and retire in two years, but you never know what’s going to happen.”
Gardner hopes to continue to be able to assist his son, Zander, who is the Jaguars’ kicker, in improving his game. He added that he spoke with the team and Zander about his decision.
“I talked with the guys and let them know this was probably going to be my last season,” Gardner said. “I spoke with him (Zander) as well and he understood. He is a talented kicker, and I’m lucky we have a real strong relationship. I’ll still be in Farmville so I can help him and watch him play.”
Gardner said he did not know if he will assist the school in its search for a new head coach, saying it was early in the process.
The Jaguars finished the season 3-8, going 2-3 in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference and missing the playoffs.
Contact Jake Keator at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.