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Graham resigns as NFMHS's head football coach

March 27, 2018
North Fort Myers Neighbor

Citing personal reasons, North Fort Myers High School's legendary head football coach is stepping down.

Earnest Graham, a former NFL running back who took over the Red Knight's top spot in 2014, submitted a letter of resignation that was released by the School District of Lee County this morning.

The letter states:

Letter from North Fort Myers High School Football Coach Earnest Graham

Due to a need spend more time with my family, and ongoing health related issues, I have decided to resign as Head Football Coach of North Fort Myers High School.

God, family, and community are very important to me. The head coaching position has made it challenging for me to meet my goal of being 100% involved in my kids' academics and hobbies, as well as living a healthy life. It is time for me to take care of myself and fully support their needs and dreams.

During these last four years, I was blessed to have a coaching staff who rallied around my vision and helped me meet those demands day in and day out. I am thankful we built something that the community could look upon with pride.

I would also like to thank both Debbie Diggs and Joe Bowen for giving me and my staff all the necessary tools to be successful. Coaching for them has been an absolute joy and I appreciate the love and respect that you have shown me and my family.

I can't thank my family enough who has supported me playing football, both collegiately and professionally, especially my wife Alicia who built our family business while I tended to the needs of so many others.

We were recently moved by the good will of Joseph North, Edgerrin James and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who give to their community schools. My family has supported youth leagues in Southwest Florida and we plan to have a more developed role in giving back like we have had in years past.

I want to say this in closing because it has been the most endearing part of my experience the last four years: I am thankful for the young men that I have coached.

We always required the best attitude and effort, and we got it from these young men day in and day out. They also required it from their peers. Once the team started to want it for themselves, the weight of adversity did not crush us, instead, we pushed through, because everyone cared. This is a possibility for any team, or community, once hearts are able to be won.

My hope is that my players carry with them the principles, work ethic and imagination necessary to build a future.

- Earnest Graham

North Fort Myers High School Principal Debbie Diggs responded in a prepared statement.

"North Fort Myers High School has been blessed to call Coach Earnest Graham one of our own for the last four years," she said. "Through his work with our football program, student athletes, fellow coaches, staff, parents and community, he rebuilt a program into one we are all proud of.

She thank him for his effort.

"We are deeply thankful to him for his dedication, and to his wife, Alicia, and their two children for their time and commitment to our school," Diggs said.

"Our love and support are with Coach Graham as he focuses on his health and family during this time of transition. We look forward to a continued relationship as a Red Knight family.

"Once a Red Knight, ALWAYS a Red Knight!"

 
 

 

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