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J.T. Postell turned East Gaston football into a winner. Here’s why he’s leaving.

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After helping turn East Gaston football into a winner, J.T. Postell is returning to his mountain home with family matters in mind.

Postell resigned as East Gaston football coach on Monday. According to school athletic director Haley Stewart, he is expected to be hired this week as the new head man at Smoky Mountain High in Sylva.

“It’s a great opportunity for him, and we’re sad to lose him,” Stewart said. It’s tough for us, but he really wanted to be closer to family. His father is 83 and it was important for him to be somewhere nearby.”

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Postell was hired as East Gaston football coach in February of 2020. He led the Warriors to a 2-5 record in his first season, abbreviated and played during the spring of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

East Gaston’s fortunes began to change that fall, however, finishing with an 8-5 mark and its first postseason berth in six seasons. The fall 2021 Warriors matched a program record with two playoff wins before bowing out to eventual NCHSAA 2A state champion Shelby.

Postell led East Gaston to six wins in 2022, followed by eight more last fall. The Warriors’ seven-game win streak to start the 2023 season is a program-best.

He departs with a 24-18 record at East Gaston, one of three coaches to leave Mount Holly with a winning mark. Postell is the only head man to lead the Warriors to three consecutive winning seasons.

According to Stewart, the school has already started receiving applications from interested coaches.

“We just posted the job (Monday) and within a few hours we started seeing applications trickle in,” she said. “The big thing for us is that we want someone who embraces our family atmosphere, someone eager to mesh with our community, someone who is good with Xs and Os but also understands that isn’t everything.”

Stewart said the school hopes to have a coach in place by early March, best ensuring an easy transition into spring practice.

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