CONYERS -- The longest tenured athletic director in Heritage High School history has walked the halls of the high school and the outskirts of the athletic fields surrounding the campus for the final time.
Chuck Landy, who originally came to Heritage in 1992 as the school's head football coach, served as the Patriots’ Athletic Director from 1994-19, while also serving several stints as a coach in some capacity.
At the end of the 2019 school year, Landy parted ways with the school he called home for 27 years.
“I’m going to miss Heritage,” Landy said. “I’m going to miss the people, the kids and the coaches. We had such a great group of parents that supported us. At the same time, Heritage will be great. They have good things going for them in the future. For me, I’m excited to go where I’m going.”
Having spent nearly 50 percent of his 60 years of life donning the red, white and blue colors of the Patriots, his journey will not end once the 2019-20 school year begins in August.
Landy is set to join the St. Pius football staff as a defensive assistant, a job he could not refuse once offered.
“I told several people that I might be interested in coaching football again,” Landy said. “I had some great opportunities and St. Pius was one of them. I knew coach (Paul) Standard from competing against him. We’ve played St. Pius in a number of sports over the years, so I got to know some of the people there.”
It was more of a mutual respect kind of thing than really knowing them. They had an opening and asked me if I’d be interested. They made it appealing.”
With several high schools around the state interested in bringing Landy on as an AD for the upcoming school year, it was something he strongly considered. But in the end, the opportunity to coach football for the first time in 12 years won him over.
I looked at a few AD positions and thought that might be where I’d like to go,” Landy said. "But honestly, I sat down with my wife and we talked about it. I was anxious to possibly coach again.
At heart, I’m a teacher and a coach. I’m really, genuinely excited to get back out there on the field as a coach. I started out as a middle school P.E. coach and a football coach and that’s what I’m going back to.”
Having just turned 60, Landy said his days of roaming the sidelines are over. At St. Pius, his time will be spent in the comfort of the press box helping out in any way that he can.
“I told their coach several weeks ago when we talked that I haven't proven anything to anybody,” Landy said. “I’ll be the low man on the totem pole over there, so wherever they think I can best fit, I’ll do that.”
I’ll help them out on Friday night’s up in the press box and will talk to defensive coaches on the head phones. I’ll just do whatever they want me to do. If they want me to work with the ninth graders on Thursdays, I’ll do that.”
Landy’s success as Heritage’s AD very nearly never happened. Originally signed on to coach football after a three-year stint as the Lowndes defensive coordinator from 1989-91, becoming an AD was the furthest thing from his mind.
“My first year at Heritage, our AD got a principal position, so he moved away,” Landy said. “During my second year there, they approached me about the job and I said no. We had other coaches at the school that had been there for awhile. Danny Blue and some guys like that. I recommended that they go and get someone like that.”
I got the job by default because no one else would do it. After the second or third time that they asked me, I went home, talked to my wife about it and came back and said that I would do it. Then I did it for 25 years.”
From Day 1 on the job, Landy said his No. 1 objective was to form the best coaching staffs that he could.
“When I took over the job, I knew a little bit,” Landy said. “I just tried to do the best that I could and find the best people around and ask them a lot of questions. One of the first people that I talked to told me that the toughest part of the job was keeping a good staff together. That couldn’t have been more accurate. The challenge is to get and keep good people and we’ve tried to do that.”
Landy’s time at Heritage has featured a lot of physical transformations to the athletic department, as well as his job titles. From building the school’s home football stadium and softball field during Landy’s tenure, to coaching several sports himself including football, track, swimming and tennis, the journey was a great one, he said.
“We didn’t have a stadium and things like that when I first got here,” Landy said. “We played our games at Rockdale. We didn’t have a softball field. We had an asphalt track when I was coaching track. I can remember saying to those kids that we were running on HWY 138 with stripes.”
Physically, it’s changed over the years. We have nice facilities and that’s something that we’re proud of. We said all the time that we had to take what we have and make it better. That didn’t matter if it was the facilities for the kids we had. We wanted to make them better.”
Landy hasn’t done too much looking back over the past 27 years at Heritage. While the memories are definitely imbedded in his mind, Landy said what he is most proud of during his nearly three-decade tenure has everything to do with the coaches and people he was able to work alongside of.
“I think what I have enjoyed the most was putting together such a great group of coaches,” Landy said. “Just the way everyone supported each other. I appreciate that I had an opportunity to work with all of those people. I really do. We’ve been fortunate enough to have had some fantastic people.”