Cody Gross resigns to be head football coach at Athens High School

Coach Cody Gross headed to Athens (Photo courtesy of UNA Athletics)

Coach Cody Gross headed to Athens (Photo courtesy of UNA Athletics)

FLORENCE, Ala. — After serving the last four seasons as the offensive coordinator at the University of North Alabama, Cody Gross has resigned his position at UNA to accept a position as the head football coach at Athens High School.

Sources close to the situation tell the Shoals Insider, Gross was chosen over 100 other candidates for the Athens job.

Gross previously served as an assistant football coach at Athens from 2003-06 and has 11 years experience on the high school level, including three seasons as head coach at Colbert County High School (2007-09) and one at Wilson High School (2011). Gross has coached on the collegiate level for nine years, with seven of those at UNA.

A member of the UNA Athletic Hall of Fame and the Division II Football Hall of Fame as a player, Gross served as an assistant coach at UNA from 1998-00 under Bill Hyde and as as offensive coordinator under Bobby Wallace from 2012-15.

“Cody has meant so much to me as not only a player and a coach, but first he was like a son and now, as time has gone by, like a brother,” said UNA Head Football Coach Bobby Wallace, who Gross played under from 1992-95 and coached under from 2012-15.

“I am happy for Cody and Karin and their wonderful family to have this opportunity and wish them the best,” Wallace added. “His contributions to UNA as a student-athlete and as a coach are unsurpassed. Athens is getting a great coach.”

As UNA’s offensive coordinator over the last four years, Gross has helped lead the Lions to a 33-13 record that includes three consecutive Gulf South Conference Championships and three straight trips to the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

In 2013 he directed a UNA offense that averaged 39.8 points and 406 yards of total offense per game. Both averages were among the best in school history and helped propel the Lions to a 10-3 record. The Lions then averaged 35.9 points in 2014 and 37.9 last season.

As a player, Gross had a 41-2 record as a starting quarterback while leading the Lions to three consecutive NCAA Division II National Championships from 1993-95. He led UNA to 14-0, 13-1 and 14-0 records during the championship seasons and played on UNA teams with a combined 48-5-1 record.

His high school coaching career includes two seasons as an assistant coach at Lauderdale County High School (1996-97), four seasons as an assistant at Athens High School (2003-06), three seasons as a head coach at Colbert County High School (2007-09), one season as assistant head coach at Sparkman High School (2010) and one season as head coach at Wilson (2011).

In his three seasons as offensive coordinator at Athens, the Golden Eagles advanced to the state playoffs every year and won the 2006 Alabama Class 5A State Championship. In his three seasons as head coach at Colbert County, the Indians had a combined 26-13 record, reaching the semifinals of the state Class 3A playoffs twice and the first round the other year.

Gross coached in the 2008 Alabama High School Athletic Association North-South Football All-Star Game and he served as District 7 Representative on the AHSAA Football Coaches Committee in 2008-09.

After his first coaching stint at UNA, Gross was offensive coordinator at Delta State in 2001 and assistant head coach for the Statesmen in 2002.

During his career as quarterback for the Lions, Gross was responsible for 65 touchdowns, rushing for 40 and throwing for 25. He had 5,614 yards of career total offense, rushing for 1,930 and passing for 3,684. His only two collegiate losses as a starter were to a pair of eventual national championship teams by a combined five points. UNA lost 14-12 to eventual Division II National Champion Jacksonville State in the quarterfinals of the 1992 playoffs, and 17-14 at eventual Division I-AA National Champion Youngstown State in 1994.

Gross played in 14 career NCAA Division II playoff games, throwing for 1,138 yards and six touchdowns and rushing for another 564 yards and 14 touchdowns.

He was chosen All-Gulf South Conference and GSC Offensive Player of the Year in 1995, was selected for the 50th Anniversary UNA Football Team for 1949-98, the Gulf South Conference “Team of the Quarter Century” for 1971-95 and the Gulf South Conference Team of the 1990s.

He has been inducted into the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame, the UNA Athletic Hall of Fame and the Division II Football Hall of Fame. His Division II Football Hall of Fame Class included John Randle of Texas A&M-Kingsville and Sean Landetta of Towson.

A recipient of the 1996 Gulf South Conference Commissioner’s Trophy as the top male student athlete in the league, Gross holds three degrees from UNA, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education – Social Science (1996), a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education – Social Science (2003) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education (2007).

He and his wife Karin have three sons, Peyton (17), Braden (14) and Brogan (9).

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