DACULA, Ga. - Hebron Christian Academy Director of Athletics Taylor Davis has announced the hiring of Jonathan Gess as the new head football coach for the Lions.
Widely known as one of the best football coaches in the state of Georgia, Gess makes his way to Hebron from Eagles Landing Christian Academy, where he captured six GHSA State Championships, including five straight championships from 2015-2019.
“This hire will forever change the trajectory of our football program,” said Davis. “It shows that as a school we are committed to pursuing excellence on and off the field. Coach Gess will not only transform this program to one of the top programs in the nation, but he is going to transform the lives of our young men. Our community looks forward to this next chapter of Hebron football, and we couldn’t be more excited to have Coach Gess lead us!”
During his 15-year stint at ELCA, Gess posted a record of 160-39 (.804) with nine double-digit win seasons, and his Chargers became the first school in Georgia to win five straight football state championships. In his incredible run of five championships in five seasons, Gess' program posted a 64-5 (.927) record, while outscoring opponents by an average of 27.1 points during his six state championship game victories.
"While I am thrilled with the win record of Coach Gess, and excited at the level of play our Hebron athletes will be exposed to, I am most impressed with Coach Gess' Christian walk and how his spiritual commitment will translate to football,” said HCA Head of School Dr. James Taylor. “Coach Gess is a minister of the gospel whose vehicle is the great game of football. It will be a joy to serve with him in the decade to come."
Gess attended college at the Citadel, where he started at center as a walk-on for the football team. After graduation, he became an officer in the United States Air Force and was called to surrender his life to Christ. God led him out of the Air Force and into high school coaching where he eventually took over as head coach at ELCA prior to the 2007 season.
“I am extremely excited to join the Hebron family,” said Gess. “What I see is an amazing school with amazing people who love the Lord. My vision is to create the best football program in the country in a way that magnifies the name of Jesus Christ. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!”
With his history of developing student-athletes, Gess has seen 77 players earn the opportunity to play at the next level since 2011, including 43 full scholarship athletes and 34 partial/preferred walk-on spots. He had six players sign their National Letter of Intent in February, including four with FBS teams and two with Power Five programs.
Isaac Rochell, a 2013 high school graduate under Gess, went on to a standout career at Notre Dame, before being drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Rochell recently completed his fifth season in the NFL, playing 12 games for the Indianapolis Colts and recording 15 tackles.
Along with his success on the field, Gess is also an author, publishing the book, Demand Excellence: On and Off the Field in 2018. In his book, he emphasizes that Christian coaches are called to a higher purpose than just winning games; they are called to be great husbands, great dads, and men who shine as lights for Jesus Christ.
Gess is married to his wife, Dee, and the couple has a son, Uriah (9).