Gartman resigns post

Published 8:15 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Morgan Academy headmaster Randy Skipper on Wednesday confirmed the resignation of the school’s athletic director and football coach Robert Gartman.

“Coach Gartman resigned (Tuesday) effective at the end of the school year,” said Skipper. “The Morgan family appreciates everything Gartman has done for Morgan Academy. He brought pride and recognition for the school.”

Multiple phone calls to Gartman this week were not returned.

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According to Skipper, Gartman did not give a reason for resigning from the post he has held since 2001. In two stints with the Senators, Gartman won six AISA Class AAA state titles, including the Senators’ first in 1988.

“The resignation surprised me somewhat,” said Skipper. “But in this business, dealing with coaches the past 32 years, nothing surprises me.”

Though most of Gartman’s career success has come at Morgan, the Senators have fallen on hard times since winning the 2005 state championship. They went 4-6 and 3-7 the next two years. They reached the playoffs this past season with a 5-5 record before falling to Fort Dale in the first round.

The resignation came just four days after Gartman told the Times-Journal he planned to stay at Morgan indefinitely.

“It was my intent when I came back to Morgan Academy to stay until I retire,” Gartman said last week. “I plan to be here indefinitely. I love Morgan Academy, and nothing has changed for me to feel otherwise.”

Rumors that Gartman resigned on Friday spread as far as Camden. Wilcox Academy coach Chris Burford, a volunteer assistant under Gartman at Wilcox Academy when the Wildcats won the 1996 AISA Class AAA state title, said he heard the rumor, but chalked it up to speculation.

The two coaches talk regularly, but the news of Gartman’s resignation came as a surprise to Burford.

“We talked Monday, and he never really said anything about it,” said Burford. “That’s strange. There’s been speculation now, seems like it had gone on for a couple of weeks. I’m sure he’ll find a job. He won’t have any problems.”