Colquitt County defensive tackles coach Greg Tillery had been considering for the last couple of years giving up his football coaching duties to spend more time with his family.
But he had three outstanding players he wanted to see through to their senior seasons and when Jamiyus Pittman, Mike Parrish and Dicarious Slaughter finished their Packer careers last fall, he figured it was a good time to step away.
Tillery, a former Packer and Georgia Southwestern catcher, will continue to coach baseball, but he leaves a hole on the Packers football staff.
“It’s going to be hard to replace a coach like Greg,” Colquitt County head football coach Rush Propst said. “He had some great players and he’s made them better.
“And he and I have had a real good relationship and our wives have become close friends. I wish him the best.”
Propst has not announced a replacement for Tillery, who has been the Packers defensive tackles coach since Propst took over in 2008.
The Packers have had some outstanding defensive tackles during that time.
And Tillery enjoys ticking them off: Nyneson Jeudy, Cameron Erving, Robert Fuller, Brett Smith, Travis Register, Pittman, Parrish and Slaughter.
“These last two years, I’ve been a relationship with Dude and Mike and Di,” Tillery said. “I made my mind up I wanted to see them through.
“But those guys I’ve had the last six years ... all those guys could play. They made my job a lot easier.”
Erving is now an All-American offensive lineman at Florida State. Pittman has signed with Central Florida and Parrish with Georgia Military.
The others have been outstanding players as well.
Tillery was an offensive lineman under Bud Willis and Bob Griffith and also played baseball for Jerry Croft.
After playing baseball for four seasons at Georgia Southwestern, he returned to Colquitt County and farmed.
But when Mike Singletary took over the Colquitt County football program in 2000, Tillery signed on as a volunteer coach at the middle school level.
“Coach Singletary gave me an opportunity and I really appreciate that,” Tillery said.
In 2003, when Tony Kirkland left to go to South Effingham, Singletary moved Tillery up to the varsity staff to coach the defensive line.
When Tim Cokely took over the Packers football program in 2005, Tillery coached the ninth-grade team for three years before Propst put him in charge of the defensive tackles.
“I’ve always been treated well,” Tillery said. “I appreciate Coach Propst, he always let me do my job.”
Tillery also coached the varsity wrestling team for several years.
Jerry Croft welcomed him to the baseball program in 2002 and he has worked primarily with JV and ninth-grade programs.
He has been with the baseball program under Croft, Eric McCranie and Tony Kirkland since then and he will continue to develop young baseball players.
“I’m very thankful to those guys,” Tillery said.
He said it was difficult giving up football, “but I just needed some time.”
He has continued his education and said he is considering looking for a job in administration.
He and wife Melonie have two grown sons, Matt and Drew and are now grandparents.
“There are just some other things I’d like to do now,” he said.