|LaGrange athletics file photo|
Steve Pardue was named as LaGrange head football coach, according to athletic director Jennifer Claybrook.
Pardue is familiar with the city of LaGrange and LaGrange College. He was an assistant coach and head coach for 19 years at LaGrange High School, where he compiled a 161-45 head-coaching record in 16 seasons, winning three GHSA Class AAA state championships in 2001, 2003 and 2004. As an assistant coach, he helped guide his school to a 1991 GHSA Class AAAA title and a No. 1 national ranking.
Pardue left LaGrange High School after the 2010 season to join the coaching staff at Kentucky. He was the running backs coach and part of a staff that included Randy Sanders, now the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Florida State, and Mike Summers, who is the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Louisville.
For the past three seasons, Pardue has been the head coach at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, Ga. He guided the Indians to three straight 8-3 records, making the state playoffs each season.
"Steve brings a tremendous amount of experience and an impressive win record to his new position in Panther athletics," said LaGrange president Dan McAlexander. "We look forward to what he can accomplish as he helps challenge our student-athletes to greater achievement on the playing field and in the classroom."
In some ways, Pardue says the new post feels like coming home.
"LaGrange College is a great institution and I have direct connections to the school with a daughter who graduated from the nursing department and my wife who received her master's degree there," he said. "In talking with president McAlexander and athletic director Jennifer Claybrook, I was impressed with the academic side of Division III and how it is embraced at LaGrange.
"I plan to use my connections in the Georgia high school football coaching ranks and heavy involvement with the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association to promote LaGrange College football and the other sports on campus."
Pardue has served as the state football chairman, vice president and on the board of directors for GACA. He was the Atlanta Falcons High School Football Coach of the Year in 2015 and was named the Georgia Class AAA Coach of the Decade in 2010. He received the Touchdown Club of Atlanta Wright Bazemore Award as the 2003 All-Class Coach of the Year. In addition, he has been named a state coach of the year by various organizations nine times.
"We are thrilled and excited to have someone of Steve's reputation to serve as our head coach at LaGrange College," Claybrook said. "Steve's ties to the community and experience with high school football coaches across Georgia and the Southeast will be invaluable in growing LaGrange College football."
Pardue began his coaching career at Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia. He had coaching stops at Albertville (Ala.) High School and Crittenden County (Ky.) High School before coming to LaGrange.