Index Magazine: Prince Avenue football coach Vandagriff has a compelling testimony and message to men


BOGART, Ga. — Greg Vandagriff has a remarkable record as a football coach; and is the spiritual leader of one of the most athletic families in the nation. Greg played football at Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens, Tenn., while his wife, Kelly, played basketball and softball at Southern Union State Community College at Wadley, Ala.

After coaching football in college and in several high schools, Vandagriff became the head coach of the Prince Avenue Christian Wolverines eight years ago and his combined win–loss record for the past four seasons has been 54-4 including three state championships and an overall record of 97-12.

Greg and Kelly’s son, Brock Vandagriff, who was rated as a five-star quarterback signed a letter of intent to play football for the Georgia Bulldogs but saw limited playing time due to quarterbacks who were virtually entrenched in their positions.

However, before the 2023 season ended Kentucky completed their season with an appearance against Clemson in the Gator Bowl and landed its quarterback of the future by selecting Brock Vandagriff. Brock graduated from UGA early allowing him to transfer to any school and play out the remaining two years of his collegiate eligibility. 

Anna Greer, the Vandagriff's older daughter, is on the volleyball team at Eastern Kentucky University and has compiled an incredible record in her first two years at the Richmond, Ky., school.  In 2023 she was selected to the Second Team All-Atlantic Sun Conference and was the MVP on the All-Tournament Teams in Starkville, MS, Miami, FL, and Winthrop, SC.

However, Greg has announced that their youngest child, Audrey, may be the best athlete in the family – she is a senior at Prince Avenue Christian School. She has signed a letter of intent to play softball for the University of Alabama. She is a three-time first-team All-State and a three-time Region Player of the Year, and holds Prince Avenue Christian School records for home runs and stolen bases.

While the Vandagriff family are sports enthusiasts, that is not what governs their lives. Brock, who may be the most visible athlete of the family because of the popularity of SEC football, was featured in a video in which he indicated that he dedicated each day of his life to the Lord.

He stated, “I am reading the Bible through this year and spending time with Jesus each day. I have found that having that time with the Lord changes the rest of the day. I am Brock Vandagriff and my relationship with Jesus Christ goes beyond religion.”

Greg’s testimony is quite remarkable. He explained, “I grew up in an abnormally dysfunctional home in Knoxville, Tenn. Fortunately, in those formative years my sister and I spent a great deal of time with our grandmother. She was a devoted Christian who was faithful to her Baptist church, and she never missed the opportunity to take us with her.  I remember going to a revival meeting in the church and as a nine-year-old boy, I trusted in Christ as my Savior.”

Vandagriff continued, “We grew up in a trailer park without sufficient finances. My mother married four times and my father figures were poor examples. My biological father spent 20 years in federal penitentiary, the second man my mother married was an alcoholic and frequently beat my mother. The third one placed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. By the time the fourth one came to live with my mom, I was gone.

“During those difficult years Larry Kerr, my high school football coach was the stabilizing force in my life. More than anyone else, he helped me understand what walking with Christ looked like.

Vandagriff continued, “When it came time for me to think about college, I did not choose a course of study that would provide financial gain. I knew deep in my heart that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.

“I wanted to serve others and see lives transformed as Coach Kerr had changed my life. I decided to prepare myself to be a high school coach, but recoiled at the thought of teaching unless I could teach history like some of my favorite high school coaches.”

After graduating from college Vandagriff became a graduate assistant football coach at Tennessee Tech University; and then became the defensive coordinator for the football team and the head coach of the baseball team of a Christian School in Baton Rouge, LA. In the five years Vandagriff was in Louisiana he turned those two struggling programs into fierce competitors and consistent winners.

Vandagriff then moved to Georgia and started coaching at Wheeler High School in Marietta where he met Kelly Benefield, who later became his wife.

Coach Vandagriff recalled, “My first head coaching job was at Campbell High School and then Kell High School. However, right in the middle of my career as a head coach, God decided to get my attention and He did. I was fired as the head coach at Kell and God used that moment to refocus my energy as a father and strengthen my role as the spiritual leader of my family.

“I spent the next eleven years as a coach at Woodward Academy and attempting to be a godly father to my three children. I wanted to give them the family business, but I didn’t own a family business, but I knew God has gifted me with a gift as a coach and that I could give them my understanding of athletics, team sports, and competing. So, that is what I did.

“When our children were in the fifth, seventh, and eighth we decided to find a wholesome, Christian environment for our children’s education; and God led us to Prince Avenue Christian School. It was not long until both girls came to Kelly and me and said, this is by far the best decision we could have ever made.

“Looking back now eight years later I can't imagine a better decision for our family than this one. Each of our three children are strong Christians and have earned full scholarships to Division One programs. All three were All-state players and region players of the year, for their respective sports.

Dr. Ike Reighard, pastor of Piedmont Church exclaimed, “I have had the wonderful privilege of being a spiritual mentor to Greg Vandagriff for the last 25 years. I’ve watched him have incredible success as a football coach and a molder of young men during our friendship. Greg is a compelling speaker and lives out his faith every day.

“Greg and his wife, Kelly, have done a terrific job of raising three student-athletes who are completely dedicated to their faith in Jesus Christ. Licensing and ordaining Greg at Piedmont Church is one of my greatest blessings – if you have him speak in your church your people will be greatly blessed!”

Vandagriff concluded, “At this point in my life and with all these many blessings, I feel that God has taught me many things, but the most important part is sharing this light of mine.  I have spent the past 20 years traveling around the country and the world teaching other coaches how to coach football and am thankful to be transitioning to sharing more about Jesus and what he has done for our family.

“I look forward to opportunities to share my story with any church, men’s group or team that would help further the Kingdom of God and give the glory to God for the blessings I've received. My story is a story of overcoming obstacles, learning from godly men around me and equipping my children to be the light to the next generation.”

Dr. J. Josh Smith, pastor of Prince Avenue Baptist Church, avowed, “Over the past six years (I have been pastor of PABC) I’ve been able to watch Coach Vandagriff not only build an incredible football program, but build incredible young men. Although much of his effectiveness is due to his knowledge and skill, most of it is due to his testimony. The Lord has done an incredible work in his life and his story is one I wish everyone could hear.”

Greg Vandagriff can be contacted at: