David Diamont’s retirement lasted a little more than a year.

Diamont, the longtime football coach at Mount Airy and East Surry, will be the next coach at South Stokes, the school announced Tuesday.

“I just missed the sideline,” Diamont said. “Coach (Michael) Holmes left late and South was convenient as far as driving.”

Diamont, 73, replaces Holmes, who announced his resignation last month to take an assistant coach’s job Vista Ridge High School in Colorado Springs, Colo. Holmes was 7-16 in two seasons with the Sauras.

“He knows what it takes to win at the 1-A level,” said Athletics Director Mitch Adams of South Stokes. “For us it was a no-brainer.”

After graduating from Wake Forest in 1968, Diamont, 73, became a teacher, as well as a JV football and basketball coach at Mount Airy High School later that year. He left in 1971 to pursue a master’s degree from Appalachian State, and he returned to Mount Airy as an assistant coach in 1972.

He then coached East Surry from from 1977 to 1990 and from 1999 to 2017. He had a combined record of 291-153 record as the head coach at Mount Airy and East Surry, including going 252-131 with the Cardinals before resigning in March 2018.

Diamont said that he has no ill feelings toward East Surry.

“We’re not going to be looking in the rear-view mirror,” he said. “We’re going to look straight ahead. I’m excited. We had a good meeting today.”

Adams said the goal is for Diamont, even though he might not be at South Stokes for long, to build the Sauras’ program.

“At the meeting today, we had over 60 kids come to the meeting,” Adams said. “Now, whether they all come out, that’s a different story.

“We’ve been in this Northwest 1-A conference a long time. People that want to come, they know Dave Diamont. They know that name. And just the name itself, people are just going to be, you know, ‘That coach knows what he’s doing.’”

South Stokes plays in the Northwest 1-A with East Surry, which named its football stadium after Diamont last year. South Stokes plays at East Surry on Nov. 1, which is the penultimate game of the season.

“I know we play up there and I don’t care,” Diamont said. “All I want is go out there and work their butts off.”

Diamont was elected to the Surry County Hall of Fame in 2016. He was also the head football coach for the East-West All-Star Game in 1985 and 2008, and he was an assistant coach in 2006 for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

In addition to his storied career as a head football coach, he has also served in the North Carolina legislature. A Democrat living in Pilot Mountain, he served in the N.C. House of Representatives from 1974 to 1994. In 1989, he was named chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. In 2017, Diamont was selected by Gov. Roy Cooper to serve on the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee, following his nearly 46 years in education.

“I’m not going to set any goals as far as wins and losses,” Diamont said. “As long as the kids enjoy it and on Saturday morning when they get up they can smile and just enjoy the experience.”

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jspivey@wsjournal.com 336-727-7370 @JaySpivey_WSJ

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