Joey Sturdivant wore the orange, blue and white Parkview football uniform during its golden age. Now he is the man in charge.
Sturdivant was approved Thursday night by the Gwinnett County Public Schools Board of Education as the Panthers’ new head football coach, making the short move from neighboring Providence Christian, where he was the head coach last season. He replaces outgoing head coach Eric Godfree, also a former Parkview player.
Both Sturdivant and Godfree played for legendary Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe, who won state championships at the Lilburn school in 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2002. Sturdivant was a standout player from 2000 to 2002 on those three straight title teams, who racked up all but one of the team’s then state-record, 46 straight wins.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” Sturdivant said of getting the job. “Both of my sisters graduated from Parkview. My mom worked there for a long time (as a teacher and coach). I was born and raised in Lilburn. I went to Mountain Park Elementary, went to Trickum Middle, went through Parkview. I was a Mountain Park Panther at the youth park. It’s just a really awesome opportunity and a dream come true.”
Sturdivant enjoyed an interesting coaching journey that spanned multiple states and overseas before he returned to Georgia as head coach at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in North Georgia. He returned to Lilburn as Providence’s head coach ahead of the 2022 season, which led him back to Parkview as the replacement for Godfree, who took the head coaching job at North Gwinnett.
“It’s a big honor. I get to represent the town and represent the alumni that have come before me. I’ve always looked up to guys that laid the foundation,” Sturdivant said. “It’s a big honor to fill the role of Coach Godfree, who I played for when he was offensive coordinator (at Parkview), and to honor Coach Flowe and all those coaches that have been at Parkview. It’s just a big honor and I hope to represent them well.
“The Lord has a crazy way of doing things. I’ve been all over the world to come back to Lilburn. I’ve coached in a bunch of different states and a bunch of different countries to come back home. But I’ll tell you what, this is an awesome place to live.”
Before being hired at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee, Sturdivant was head coach of the Saarland Hurricanes in the professional German Football League. His team was league runner-up in back-to-back years. Over two years, his team amassed a 19-6-1 record and won the GFL2 South Vice Championship. The Hurricanes led the league in total points per game (41.8), total offense (472.9), rushing per game (321) and pass efficiency (235.3).
Sturdivant has also coached successful high school programs at IMG Academy (Fla.) and Trinity Catholic (Fla.), sending 53 players to college programs and six to the NFL.
As head coach at Trinity Catholic, he led his team to a AAA district championship and the state quarterfinals.
Sturdivant helped start the football program at IMG Academy, serving as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator alongside head coach and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke. The team ranked 17th in the country with an overall record of 19-2 during that span.
Sturdivant was a two-sport star at Parkview, winning five state championships his final three years in football and baseball. He never lost a high school football game as a player and was named Parkview Athlete of the Year and Gwinnett County Athlete of the Year. After high school, he played football at Southern Methodist University, finishing fifth in the nation in tackles one season as a safety. He also played professional football in Germany.
“We could not be more excited about bringing Coach Sturdivant back to Parkview,” Parkview athletic director Nick Gast said. “Coach Sturdivant truly bleeds orange and is a huge part of the tradition and history of Parkview and now he is the right person to lead our program into the future.”
Sturdivant inherits a talented Parkview team that features a large number of Georgia’s top underclassmen recruits and figures to be one of the state’s top teams next season.
“We’ve got a great group of guys who have been there, a big senior group to lean on and a talented group,” Sturdivant said.
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