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Heritage football head coach Parris resigns
Patriots' head football coach Mike Parris resigned from his position Tuesday morning, notifying his players that he would not return for the 2014 season. - photo by Darrell Everidge

After leading the Patriots to a 6-5 record and a postseason playoff berth, Heritage head coach Mike Parris resigned from his position Tuesday morning.

Parris notified his players Tuesday morning at Heritage of his decision to leave the program.

The Patriots went 6-5 overall and 5-3 in region play, defeating county rival Salem during the 2013 season.

The resignation came as a shock to the Patriots.

“It was sudden,” Heritage Athletic Director Chuck Landy said. “We sat down and talked and Coach Parris felt like it was in his best interest to leave the program. It was time for him to step away. It’s disappointing – no doubt – but we’ll move on and move forward.”

The Patriots have named assistant coach Matt Daniel as the interim head coach until a new head coach has been named. Landy said there is no timetable to hire a new head coach at this time.

Daniel has coached the Patriots’ defensive line and the ninth grade program during his tenure at Heritage. This past season was Daniel’s fourth with the Patriots.

Daniel was named the Offensive Coordinator of the Year in his region during his coaching stint at Cannon County High School.

“Matt has been with us for a while,” Landy said. “We have been fortunate to have him. He’s a top of the line person and a good football coach too.

“We have some excellent coaches here. Coach Daniel will handle the day-to-day duties, including recruiting, schedule setting and our workouts. We have to get guys moving in the right direction and working together. From now until December, he will lead our program.”

Parris joined the Heritage program this season after spending 17 years at Jackson High School. Parris left Jackson citing personal reasons.

Parris was named the head coach at Jackson before the start of the 1996 season. Parris led the Red Devils to their first region championship in 40 years and their first undefeated regular season in 2008. Parris was named the Region Coach of the Year in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009, finishing his career with 11 playoff runs and four region titles at Jackson.

"I just felt like I needed to get out at this time," Parris said. "I don't really know how to explain it. It just felt like it was the best move to make for me and my family at this time."

Parris, who teaches Physical Education at Heritage, said he planned to stay on with the school and continue teaching, although his coaching resignation is effectively immediatly.

"I really appreciate all of th great people at Heritage, from the administration, to the coaches, to the kids," Parris said. "They really worked hard. Coaching here for me, it just wasn't the place for me at this time."

Parris said he would be open to coaching at another program if a position presented itself that interested him.

Landy said that the parameters of the coaching search have yet to be set.

“It could be internal,” Landy said. “We have some excellent people here; people we trust. I’m sure some of them would be interested in the job. This is a good place to be at and I’m sure we will have a lot of people interested. We just have to make sure that we are going in the right direction. Right now we’re a little shocked, but we have to get over it.”