The 2010 football season was not very positive for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as they only won one game and only scored 61 points the entire season.
Charles Fant took over as the offensive coordinator last fall and the Irish matched that previous-season's total in the first game during a 61-48 victory over Grace Academy.
Things kept getting better for Notre Dame as they advanced to the playoffs while averaging 31 points per game.
Josh Sellers resigned after three years as the head coach.
Athletic Director Howie Sompayrac didn't have to look far to find his next head coach.
Fant now holds that job, but it wasn't a decision he made in the blink of an eye.
"It's an exciting opportunity and a whole lot of work. I never knew how much work was involved with being a head football coach," Fant said earlier this week during a morning planning period.
"I never gave much thought to being a head coach and I never knew that this was the job I wanted. When it was first offered, I did a lot of praying about it and I talked to my wife, but I didn't make the decision to accept this job for two weeks.
"After the first few days of consideration, I knew I really wanted it, but I had my own financial company and had to make some arrangements along those lines.
"I fell in love with these kids and realized that they want to enjoy the better things in life. That was a major part of my decision," the 39-year-old Fant continued.
Fant is originally from Cincinnati and lived there before moving to Nashville where he had signed scholarship papers to play football for the Vanderbilt Commodores. He was a quarterback at the start, but finished his playing days as a receiver for then-coach Gerry DiNardo.
"We won 19 games in my four years there and knocked on the door to a bowl game three times," he recalled.
After graduation in 1995 with a major in business and psychology, Fant began his coaching career, where he started with three years at Ringgold before moving to Boyd-Buchanan for the next nine. He came to Notre Dame last fall and is now in his first season as a head coach.
"My goal is to keep the momentum we started last year. We made a huge turnaround from the previous season as we scored a lot more points and finished 5-5 before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
"Our second goal is to have a winning season and to know that we're heading in the right direction. We're a lot younger this year as we are a freshman and sophomore-laden team. We'll be better on defense, but we just want to keep it all together and to make sure that everyone has all they need," Fant added.
Notre Dame's roster currently has 46 players listed, including just 10 seniors and five juniors. Seven starters return on defense while five return on offense.
While Fant's number-one priority will be the success of the Notre Dame football team, he's far from a one-dimensional guy.
He and his wife Traci celebrated their 17th anniversary in May and they're the proud parents of three sons, including 11-year-old James Ryan and five-year-old twins Samuel and Solomon.
Fant is also a talented musician who openly admits that he's perfectly capable of playing a saxaphone, drums, bass guitar and keyboard.
Fant and his young football team open their season tonight with a home game against Grace Academy.
They will be at home again next week to host McMinn Central with other home games on Sept. 14 against Bledsoe County, Sept. 28 against Signal Mountain and Oct. 26 against Grundy County.
Road games will be played at Chattanooga Christian, Lookout Valley, Sequatchie County and Whitwell.
Charles Fant is confident that he made the right decision and that his Notre Dame football team is headed in the right direction. He just hopes that he can keep the ball rolling with another trip to the playoffs in November.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)