Russell Gray (FCS)

A former Johns Creek High and Cambridge High School coach and teacher will be Riverwood International Charter School’s new athletic director at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

Russell Gray replaces retiring Athletic Director Mike Mezzio, whose career spanned 17 years with Fulton County Schools (FCS), with the past 6 as Riverwood’s athletic director.

Gray has been a coach and teacher within the Fulton County Schools district since 2014, most recently at Johns Creek High School. Prior to his one year at Johns Creek, Gray spent eight school years at Cambridge High School in Milton. He completed his ‘Aspiring Athletic Director Cohort Training’ with FCS in May 2022.

Gray was the head coach of boys’ and girls’ varsity track and field; head junior varsity football coach and defensive coordinator; assistant varsity football coach working with the defensive line; assistant flag football coach and defensive coordinator for that team.

Gray’s leadership helped Cambridge win GHA Region 7 GA girls’ track and field championships in 2018 and 2019 when he also earned Coach of the Year honors. Gray increased the growth of the track and field team by more than 100 percent. As a head coach, he was a three-time winner of the GACA Region 7-6A Coach of the Year Award for Track and Field. He also led the program to five Region Championships (four girls and one boys) and one State Runner-Up title.

Gray served as an advisor for FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) while fulfilling his role as a business teacher. As FBLA advisor, Gray was twice named Georgia’s FBLA Advisor of the Year. His chapter holds several Gold Chapter Awards and consists of students who qualified for and won several state and national events.

Additionally, Gray founded the school’s first SBE (school-based enterprise) called PAW Prints Print Shop. As part of this entrepreneurship class, students learned real-world business applications, customer service and critical thinking skills.

“Mr. Gray’s work as a coach, teacher, and advisor has focused on sustaining high student achievement, encouraging athletic involvement, and promoting an inclusive and positive school culture. We know that he will be a great addition to our community,” Riverwood Principal Kindra Smith said.

“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” Gray said.

Gray was a standout athlete in football and track at Marietta High School. His athletic accomplishments earned him a full scholarship to play football at the University of West Georgia where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Arts in Teaching.

He and his wife LaToya have four children; Wesley, Chelsey, Shannon, and Spencer and two grandchildren; Phoenix and Zhuri.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.