When reached by phone by the Rome News Tribune, former CHS Football Coach John Starr said the condition of the players was what mattered most to him.

“They (the players) seem to be forgotten about in all this,” Starr said. “They’re the most important thing. That’s what we need to do: Do what it takes to make this a good transition for our players and go with it.”

Starr, who remains a teacher at Chattooga, says he will continue to support the team he coached for the first half of the regular season, and he hopes the community will do the same.

Starr had been coaching the team since 1997, and he led the Indians to six playoff appearances.

“I’m not bitter about it,” Starr said. “Let’s stay behind our guys. I might not be their coach, but they’re still our players. They’ve all got my number and they can call me anytime if they need any help with anything.”

Chattooga principal Morgan Nugent told the Rome News-Tribune on Saturday that the school’s decision to make a coaching change wasn’t based on the loss to Armuchee.

“We wanted to move in a different direction,” said Nugent. “This (wasn’t) a one-game decision.”

Starr said he was unaware of any unhappiness with his performance as head coach.

“I can only go by what I was told,” he said when asked if he thought his dismissal stemmed exclusively from the Armuchee loss.

“I don’t have anything on my evaluation that I didn’t do right. I just have to go with that they’re going in a different direction. That’s what I have to trust and believe. To my knowledge, I don’t have anything on my record. I was never called in and questioned about anything.

“I’m not bitter about it,” he added. “I’m just disappointed I don’t get to finish the year with the guys.”

Starr said the community has shown him support, but he has been encouraging people to go along with the new changes.

“I hope everyone understands we — as Indian Nation — need to move forward,” he said