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James Clemens loses football coach/athletic director

Bill Stewart, James Clemens' athetic director and head football coach, is leaving Madison for a new job in Georgia after just one season.

A year after hiring a new athletic director and football coach for its new James Clemens High School, the Madison School System is in the hunt for a replacement.

Bill Stewart has accepted an administrative job for the Jackson County school system in Georgia, Madison Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler announced.

The Jackson school board approved Stewart’s hiring as director of safety, security and activities for the district. It is similar to Madison’s with 13 schools, including two high schools.

“We wish Coach Stewart and his family success as they move back home and open a new chapter of their lives,” Fowler said. “My initial impression of Coach Stewart was that he cared more about molding and shaping young men in to men of character than he did about winning and losing. Every day of his tenure in Madison City reinforced that first impression.”

Principal Brian Clayton named James Clemens offensive coordinator Clint Woodfin to serve as interim athletic director and football coach. He said a search committee will be formed to find a replacement.

Stewart joins former James Clemens Principal Dr. John Greene in the Jackson County school district. Greene was principal at James Clemens when Stewart was hired by Madison. Greene accepted the Jackson County superintendent’s post in May and reached out to Stewart to join his team. Both had worked in Georgia school districts before coming to Madison.

Clayton said Stewart did a credible job building a program in the year he’s been at James Clemens. That “foundation” is in good shape for his successor to build on, Clayton said.

“He’s what you want in a football coach. One that provides leadership and mentoring for his players. He’s an outstanding leader. He will be missed,” Clayton said.

Stewart had mixed feelings about leaving. While he and his family enjoyed Madison and feel good about progress at James Clemens, the Georgia job is a career advancement he couldn’t turn down. The family also many friends there. “We’re a little sad we won’t be able to follow through and see the full fruits of our work,” Stewart said.

“This system will be left in good hands with the leadership and direction of the superintendent; the principal, Dr. Clayton; and the community,” Stewart said. “There is a lot of great personnel here for the school to grow and progress. There’s no doubt James Clemens will be one of the top schools in the state in the next couple of years.”

Stewart reports to his new job Feb. 1. Clayton hopes to begin interviews for Stewart’s successor within several weeks.