Rabun Gap names Joe Sturdivant new head football coach

Eagles nab professional coach to lead football program to new heights

Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School has hired Joe Sturdivant as its new head football coach after a competitive global search.

“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Sturdivant and his family to the Rabun Gap community. Coach Sturdivant has proven himself as a highly successful and beloved coach at all levels. I know he is the right person to lead our program to a new elite level,” said Head of School Jeff Miles.

Coach Sturdivant returns home to Georgia bringing a wealth of experience on the professional, collegiate, international, and independent school levels. Originally from Gwinnett County, Coach Sturdivant was a standout athlete at Parkview High School near Atlanta. He earned a Division 1 scholarship to Southern Methodist University where he finished fifth in the nation in tackles.

Coach Sturdivant comes to Rabun Gap after a successful career as the head coach of the Saarland Hurricanes in the professional German Football League. He compiled a 19-6-1 record over two seasons with the Hurricanes. His teams led the league in points per game (41.8), total offense (472.9), rushing per game (321), and pass efficiency (235.3) on their way to the GFL2 South Vice Championship.

Prior to his professional coaching career, Coach Sturdivant had successful coaching stints at two national high school powerhouse programs in Florida — IMG Academy and Trinity Catholic High School. He coached 53 players who went on to play in college, including more than 45 on Division 1 scholarships and six who played in the NFL.

As the head coach at Trinity Catholic, Coach Sturdivant led his team to win the 3A district championship and advanced to the state quarterfinals. His teams also led the campus with a 3.1 team GPA.

Coach Sturdivant, along with Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, started the football program at IMG Academy, where he served as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the No. 17 team in the country with an overall record of 19-3.

Coach Sturdivant has also coached the Belgium national team and has experience leading teams in Italy, Germany, and Austria.

“My family and I are very excited about joining the Rabun Gap community. I believe Rabun Gap and I are the perfect fit. I have no doubt we will develop great young men into future leaders. The winning will take care of itself. We are going to focus on building top-notch student-athletes and preparing them for their future both on and off the field,” Coach Sturdivant said. “I look forward to getting onto campus and joining our new family at Rabun Gap.”

As a player, he won five state championships in two sports at Parkview and was named Parkview Athlete of the Year and Gwinnett County Athlete of the Year. At Southern Methodist University, he earned All-Conference honors and was named team MVP.

“Although Coach Sturdivant’s resume is quite impressive by itself, during the interview, I was most impressed with his approach to building team culture, individual character, and lifelong relationships. His connection to the local area, along with his strong commitment to our mission makes him the perfect fit for our community,” said Miles.

In addition to coaching football, Coach Sturdivant will serve as the assistant director of admission and will live on campus with his wife, Virginia, and his son, Bear. He has close family ties in Clayton, GA, Gwinnett County, GA and Franklin, NC. Coach Sturdivant will move on campus and start work immediately in the admission office on March 23.

“This is a very special moment for me, to be able to work and coach in the North Georgia mountains, where I grew up hunting and fishing, and where my wife and I got married. We have family right down the road in Tiger and in Franklin,” Coach Sturdivant said.

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