The King George High School administration didn’t have to look far to find its next head football coach.
The Foxes promoted offensive coordinator Vern Lunsford to the position to replace Jeff Smith, who resigned in November after nine seasons.
Lunsford’s hiring was approved by the King George County School Board Monday night.
The 32-year-old Spotsylvania High School graduate spent the past three seasons coordinating King George’s Wing-T offense. Prior to that, he had stints as an assistant coach at Colonial Forge, Riverbend and Fredericksburg Christian.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Lunsford said of taking over the Foxes. “I think King George is full of a lot of potential being a one-school county. It’s very exciting. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. I’ve had a lot of great coaches who have inspired me and believed in me and I want to do the same thing for other young men.”
Lunsford played quarterback at Shenandoah University after graduating from Spotsylvania. He joined the coaching staff of his former high school coach, Tim Coleman, at Colonial Forge after graduating from Shenandoah.
Lunsford was the quarterbacks coach for the Eagles. He accepted the same position at Riverbend where he stayed for two years before rejoining Coleman’s staff at Fredericksburg Christian for two seasons.
In addition to his coaching duties, he’s been a physical education teacher at King George the past three years.
“He’s a super positive guy,” King George athletic director Alex Fisher said. “He’s one of those guys with an ability to form relationships with kids. He’s taken some of our tough cases [with students], put them under his wing and guided them through some tough situations.”
Fisher also said Lunsford’s commitment to running a year-round program made him an attractive candidate.
He said during the interview process Lunsford put forth a clear plan for what the program would look like all 12 months of the year.
“It’s something that’s going to keep the kids motivated,” Fisher said. “He’s been a part of our offseason program in the past but now that it’s his and he can put his name on it, the motivation is high to make it successful.”
Fisher and Lunsford said it remains to be seen if Smith will stay on the staff. After Smith announced his resignation he said he would like to continue as an assistant with the Foxes.
Smith went 48-48, including a 3-7 campaign in 2017. He stepped down to focus more on his full-time job as the county’s truancy officer.
Smith rebuilt King George’s program, which won just 10 games in the seven years prior to his hiring. Lunsford said the future is promising as the Foxes advanced to the Battlefield District junior varsity championship game last fall and also fielded a strong middle school team.
“I think the future’s bright,” Lunsford said. “We’ve got a lot of young talent coming up. It’s an exciting opportunity.”