Just a month ago, Radford native Kevin Saunders led his Pebblebrook High School (Georgia) into another playoff berth.
This week, he was named the new head coach at nearby Gilmer High School. Ironically, the mascot for Gilmer is the Bobcats.
Saunders had been the head coach at Pebblebrook for the past four years and led the school to 20 wins and three straight playoff appearances.
He is a Radford High School graduate who was an assistant at the school before taking head coaching stints at three Virginia high schools. Saunders has compiled a 186-101-2 mark in his time as a head coach, including a state championship at Brookville in 2011.
He was scheduled to meet with his new team on Friday afternoon.
Saunders is the brother of current Radford coach Matthew Saunders who also led his team into the playoffs this season.
Kevin graduated from Radford High School in 1982 after playing lineman on both sides of the ball. He then attended Radford University and Virginia Tech, where he was a graduate assistant under then-coach Frank Beamer. He followed that up with a brief time as an assistant at his high school alma mater, learning the game from his longtime coach, Norm Lineburg.
Early on, Saunders found success at William Campbell, Gretna and J.J. Kelly high schools in Virginia, and Shelby Valley in Kentucky.
In 1995, he led William Campbell High School to the Seminole District and region III title, being named the district coach of the year and Associated Press AA Virginia coach of the year.
He then continued the winning ways with J.J. Kelly, leading them to four consecutive playoff appearances from 2000-2003, the first time in school history.
Saunders would follow that up at Shelby Valley (Ky.) with three consecutive District 7 playoff appearances and the school’s first ever playoff win. A short time later, he returned to Virginia and took over at Gretna.
In 2010 and 2011, he was named the Dogwood District coach of the year and served as the head coach of the Virginia High School League all-star game after being named the Virginia State coach of the year.
In a previous interview, Kevin said he learned a lot in his time in Radford. “I learned a lot from Coach Lineburg and Coach (Buddy) Shull (at Radford High School),” he said.
Saunders also feels fortunate to have learned from Beamer during his time as a grad assistant.
He left Gretna in 2014 as one of the most successful in school history with a 49-15 mark that included a state title in 2011.
Pebblebrook had 2,400 students and was in Georgia’s top classification, 7AAAA. Gilmer is located in Elijah, Georgia and enrolls 1,112 students. The school’s athletic programs also competes in the state’s top level of 7AAAA. This past season, the Bobcats finished 0-10.