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The Gartman file: 3 schools, 23 seasons

With the beginning of a new chapter, the previous one must close.

Nearing the end of his second stint at Morgan Academy, Coach Robert Gartman is not ready to offer his thoughts on his time at the school just yet.

He declined to comment on his time at Morgan, and thoughts on and advice for the incoming coach by answering, “I don’t have an answer for that,” in response to questions on each.

In 24 years coaching Morgan, Wilcox Academy and Jackson Academy, Gartman amassed a 203-70 record and seven state titles.

Gartman began his first stint at Morgan in 1986. When he took over, the Senators had only twice reached the playoffs and held no state titles in the trophy case.

Over the next seven years, Morgan amassed an 80-7 record and became a playoff fixture. The Senators reached five state championship games, winning three Class AAA state titles (1988, 1989, 1992) and one Class AAAA state title (1991).

After the 1992 season, Gartman took over at Jackson Academy. He led the Eagles to an 8-2 record and playoff appearance in his first year, but results were mixed the next two years. Jackson went 18-13 with two playoff appearances before Gartman moved to his next stop — Wilcox Academy.

In five years at the helm, he guided the Wildcats to a 47-15 record and the 1996 Class AAA state title. Following the 2000 season, the Morgan job opened up when Robbie James — who led the Senators to their fourth consecutive Class AAA championship — left for Faith Academy. Gartman handed the Wilcox reigns over to then-assistant Chris Burford and returned to Selma.

He added two more championship rings to his collection in 2003 and 2005, but the Senators’ highlights became few and far between in the following seasons.

After 21 consecutive playoff appearances, the Senators failed to reach in the playoffs in 2006 and 2007. The 2008 team returned to the playoffs, but finished 5-6 after a 10-0 first round loss to Ft. Dale.