Frank Gay has come full circle.
The longtime football coach was officially approved Thursday night after a nearly two-month search to replace Chad Weaver at Red Land High School. It marks Gay's return to the Patriots' sideline, his first stop as a head coach 15 years ago.
Gay, who has taught at Red Land for 25 years, was hired as the coach there in 2003. He led the team in 2006 to a District 3 Class 3-A championship and the PIAA semifinals but resigned in January, 2011 after consecutive losing seasons. He went 45-43 with the Patriots in his first stint.
“Having previously coached the Red Land football team from 2003 though 2010, I am really excited to be back where my roots as a coach were established, and I consider it an honor to continue the hard work Chad Weaver and his staff have put in over the last [seven] years," Gay said in a statement provided by West Shore School District. "It is my hope that the existing relationship I have with the students at Red Land and through the midget program will be a huge boost to the overall football program.
"I have discussed my departure from the Camp Hill football program with district administration, and I am grateful to be given this incredible opportunity to coach in the community where I live and work. Anyone who knows me, knows how passionate I am about everything I do. The work starts tomorrow!”
He was hired a few weeks later by Camp Hill, where he guided the Lions to consecutive District 3 titles in 2014 and 2015 with quarterback Michael Shuster, running back Bill Williams and a then young and blossoming tight end, Zack Kuntz, who just joined Shuster at Penn State as an early enrollee.
But after going 44-25 at Camp Hill, Gay abruptly resigned the night before the 2017 season opener, leaving Tim Bigelow as the interim head coach.
It was expected Gay, who has a career record of 89-68 over 14 seasons, would eventually return as a head coach somewhere.
Then Chad Weaver, who replaced Gay in 2011, stepped down at the end of this season to spend more time with his young family. His wife gave birth to the couple's second child in the summer.
Weaver, who graduated from the school, went 37-40 over seven seasons at Red Land, but just 2-8 in his final year.
Gay's appointment was not posted as an item on the West Shore School Board agenda until Thursday afternoon. He will make $10,618.