Justin Pressley will take over the Falcons’ football program, athletic director Jim Whalen announced Tuesday.
Pressley replaces Barry Jones, who tendered his resignation last September following an alleged profanity-laced locker room tirade against his players.
Pressley, who attended Midway High School and Middle Tennessee State, has been coaching for 10 years, seven in Tennessee at the middle school and high school levels. He served as an assistant coach at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro, which reached the state semifinals in 2012, and at Pearl Cohn High School in Nashville, which made the state semifinals in 2014.
Pressley’s first head coaching opportunity came at Lindblom High School in Chicago in 2015. When he took over the 5A program, it was coming off a 2-7 season. In three seasons under Pressley, Lindblom compiled a 20-9 record — 15-2 in conference — and made two state playoff appearances. Lindblom was the 2015 Chicago League Champion with a 7-0 league mark and made its first postseason appearance in 25 years and appeared in the 2017 ISHA state playoffs, hosting the first playoff game in school history.
“We essentially built the Lindblom program from scratch by creating an exciting brand of football,” Pressley said in a release from Volunteer. “We demanded our players to be leaders and taught them what that meant.”
Pressley and his wife, Jessica, who hails from Cleveland, Tenn., welcomed their first child, Duke, in September 2017.
“Chicago has been great to my family. We enjoyed three incredible years there. Our son was born in Chicago,” Justin Pressley said. “We grew very close to the community, parents and players. Leaving is one of the toughest decisions Jessica and I have had to make. However timing is everything, and it is the right time to come back to Tennessee and be closer to our family.
“When we met with everyone at Volunteer, it instantly made us feel this was the right place for us,” he continued. “We are very excited to meet the players, staff and the community. There is a ton of work to be done and success doesn’t happen overnight. I am dedicated and committed to doing things the right way and building a quality program.
“We are currently trying to get things taken care of in Chicago while looking for a place to live in Tennessee. Hopefully we will begin at Volunteer High School no later than March 1st. I want to hit the ground running and get to work building the Volunteer High School football program.”
In the statement, Volunteer Principal Bobby Wines expressed his thanks to the search committee as well as players and parents for their patience and understanding.
“The search committee worked diligently to find the best person to lead our football program,” Wines said. “The list of 24 applicants was narrowed and multiple candidates interviewed Coach Pressley’s initial interview was conducted while he was still in Chicago using Google Meet. His family traveled to Church Hill February 3rd for the face-to-face interview with the committee. I’m excited and think Coach Pressley is a perfect fit for our school and community.”
“I am excited for our school and community with our new hire,” Whalen said. “Justin Pressley brings a high energy level and a spark of enthusiasm to the football program. I look for him to lead our players on and off the field.”