After 10 seasons coaching football at Savannah Country Day, Dennis Coyle announced Friday that he is leaving the school for a similar post in his hometown — at Cincinnati Country Day School.
Coyle compiled a 47-58 record in his tenure at SCD, including 7-4 last season and 10-3 in 2017, when the Hornets advanced to the state quarterfinals.
Soon after issuing a press release about Coyle moving on, SCD Head of School Kef Wilson and Director of Athletics Erik Johnson announced his replacement, Jim Collis.
Coyle earned the respect of the Coastal Empire football coaching community as he consistently fielded competitive teams, despite often being low on participation numbers. He is a graduate of Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School, where he was a standout in football, wrestling and baseball.
“I have five siblings and my parents in Cincinnati and my wife, Nicole, has her sister and parents up there, too,” said Coyle, who will also be the athletic director at CCD. “The school is similar to Savannah Country Day and it puts us closer to our families. Cincinnati Country Day has a great football tradition and we need to rebuild there and I’m excited about doing it.
“My time at Savannah Country Day has been great. It’s been a wonderful journey. I was blessed to work with great players, coaches and families and build great relationships. The hardest part is leaving those relationships. That was the hardest part of the decision. I hope the players know I love them, but I have to do what is best for my family right now.”
His players have a great deal of respect for Coyle, said Andre Miller, a standout junior defensive end for the Hornets.
“Coach Coyle has been a great leader for our team,” Miller said. “He helped mold me into who I am today. I was a childish kid, and he has shaped me into a strong young man. He’s had a big impact on so many people at Savannah Country Day, on and off the field. He’s been a special man in the community and we’re going to miss him.”
Collis has spent the last four years at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where as offensive coordinator he played an integral role in winning a GHSA Class 3A state championship in 2015 and advancing to three consecutive state quarterfinals. According to the news release, he spent almost 20 years at The Columbus Academy in Columbus, Ohio, where he served in a variety of roles including head football coach, assistant athletic director and head baseball coach.
During his 13-year tenure as the The Columbus Academy head football coach, Collis led the team to several OHSAA state playoffs, including a state championship.
Prior to his move to high school, Collis coached at the collegiate level with stints at Bowling Green, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Lafayette.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Savannah Country Day community,” Collis said in the news release. “I look forward to developing lasting relationships with both students, athletes, and former Hornets alike. SCDS is a special place with a rich history and a bright future, I am humbled and honored to serve this institution.”
Coyle, also the assistant athletic director at SCD, will start at the Ohio school effective July 1.
At the college ranks, Coyle played defensive back at Kentucky Wesleyan College before transferring to the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. Coyle has also pursed graduate work in educational leadership at both UC and the University of Michigan.
Coyle and his wife Nicole, and their three children Sarah Kate (grade 9), Ryan Patrick (grade 6), and Leah Nicole (grade 5), plan to move to Cincinnati this summer.