Mike Gold, the most successful high school basketball coach in Columbia County, has relinquished his roles as athletics director and boys varsity basketball coach at Augusta Christian Schools.
Gold submitted his resignation Tuesday to the Augusta Christian board of directors, and informed his players of the decision Thursday at a special meeting.
"It was a tremendous shock to us all and to the basketball players; sure, they were hurt, like all of us feel the hurt, because we love Mike," said Dr. John Bartlett, interim headmaster at Augusta Christian.
Dr. Bartlett did not provide reasons for the resignation, and would not comment on whether Gold was asked to leave. Gold was unavailable for comment Friday.
"Augusta Christian is Christian, and it's not always easy to be Christian," Dr. Bartlett said. "There are sometimes divisions within a family, depending on how much you love and appreciate that person and have that person's good in mind.
"Everything was done very fairly," Dr. Bartlett added. "He handed in his resignation and the board accepted it. We are disappointed in his choice to resign his positions."
Sources close to Gold say the coach was given the choice to resign or be fired for a personal infraction which was unrelated to his duties as coach and athletics director.
Gold was in his eighth year at the school, where he led the Lions to Georgia Independent School Association Class AAA state titles in 1996 and '99. His team, which also has claimed the last five Region 4-AAA championships, are off to a 6-0 start this season.
Westminster basketball coach and athletic director Mark Tebbs expressed shock over the sudden departure.
"I'm still trying to soak it all in," said Tebbs, who became close to Gold while the two battled in GISA action.
"He's always been a competitor and a great motivator for his kids. I always admired his ability to get his kids to play hard; he has a gift for that. He had a great impact on local basketball and he's going to be missed."
Andrew Bryan will serve as AC's interim boys varsity basketball coach, while Steve Price will be the interim athletics director.