GARDENDALE — There will be another coaching change among local high school football teams next season, and this one comes at the area's largest school.
Gardendale coach Chris Fancher has resigned after five seasons in charge of the Rockets. Fancher confirmed his departure late Wednesday, and Principal Jeff Caufield did so as well on Friday.
Caufield said that Fancher remains a teacher at the school for the time being.
Fancher took over the program in 2008, which coincided with the school's return to Class 6A in the Alabama High School Athletic Association, after being in Class 5A for 10 years.
For the first two years, Fancher's teams were assigned to Region 6, the so-called "region of doom" because of the presence of longtime powerhouse programs such as Hoover and Vestavia Hills. In 2010, they were moved to a region that featured the three 6A schools in Tuscaloosa County, during which time the Rockets made their first 6A playoff appearance since 1991. They lost to Hoover at what then called Regions Park (now once again Hoover Metropolitan Stadium) in the first round.
Gardendale's regional alignment was changed again in 2012, and the Rockets returned to the post-season, where they lost to Tuscaloosa County in the first round.
Fancher's overall record at Gardendale was 27-25, but 0-2 in playoffs. Before coming to Gardendale, Fancher coached at Mississippi College in Clinton, near Jackson.