RANG

Gatlinburg-Pittman’s Derek Rang stepped down as head football coach on Monday.

GATLINBURG — Gatlinburg-Pittman head football coach Derek Rang confirmed on Monday that he has stepped down as the Highlanders’ head coach.

Rang spent four years at Gatlinburg-Pittman, compiling an overall record of 31-17.

The Highlanders made at least the second round of the playoffs in his last three years as head coach including reaching the quarterfinals in 2020.

They beat Pigeon Forge in the second round last fall, before eventual state champion Alcoa ended the Highlanders’ season.

Rang will be relocating to Mississippi this summer for an unspecified job opportunity.

“It has been an honor to serve as the head coach at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School. I would like to thank Jack Parton, Tony Ogle, Gary Stinnett, AJ Bennett and Conchita Owenby for giving me this opportunity four years ago,” Rang said in a statement.

“I would also like to thank all the players for their hard work, and all the parents for allowing me to coach their sons. Also, I would like to thank all the people who have supported the school and program to make these past four years a successful experience. I will be relocating to Mississippi this summer. Again, it was a privilege. Thank you!”

The Maryville native came to Gatlinburg-Pittman from Dresden High School in West Tennessee.

He led the Dragons to a 15-0 record and 1A state championship over Greenback in his final year there in 2016 before heading to Gatlinburg-Pittman.

The Highlanders were set to start spring practice on May 11, but now they must hire a new head coach.

“Gatlinburg-Pittman High School would like to thank coach Derek Rank for his time as our head football coach,” Gatlinburg-Pittman athletic director Conchita Owenby said.

“Over the past four years, Coach Rang has continued the tradition of excellence within our football program with his hard work and commitment. We wish Coach Rang continued success in his new position in Mississippi.”