After more than 20 years in Abbeville County, Tad DuBose is coming to Emerald High School.

DuBose, who led one of the best defenses in state history at Abbeville, has been named the new head coach of Emerald, Greenwood School District 50 announced Friday.

“I’m bubbling, just to be honest with you,” Dubose said. “I’m thankful to the administration and the district for giving me this opportunity to try and do something great at Emerald High School.

“I’m looking forward to the challenges of going to a new position and an established program at Emerald High School. I’m looking forward to getting there and getting to know all the young people and trying to make an impact on their lives. I’m focused on turning that football program into something special. That’s my goal.”

Dubose takes over for athletic director Tim McMahon, who went 65-64 in 11 seasons with the Vikings.

Emerald missed the playoffs in the 2019 season after finishing 1-9 overall and last in Region 3-3A. The Vikings have won just four games in the past two seasons.

After this past season’s finish, Emerald posted back-to-back losing records for the first time since 2009-10.

“There’s one recipe for success, and that’s learning how to do things the right way,” Dubose said. “Young people have to buy in to being held accountable and being disciplined. If you’re going to build a program, that’s got to be the cornerstones. I’ll bring that to the program.”

DuBose coached the defense at Calhoun Falls from 1993 until 2004, when he was hired at Abbeville for the same role. On Jamie Nickles’ staff, DuBose won six state championships, including a run of four in a row from 2015 to 2018.

DuBose is familiar with the Vikings’ roster because Emerald typically plays Abbeville every season. He said one of Abbeville’s toughest games this past season was against Emerald because of its size and strength on the offensive and defensive lines.

“There’s a good group of linemen that they have coming through right now,” DuBose said. “The kids are big and strong and physical. I’ve known that throughout the years since I’ve competed against them at Abbeville.”

DuBose added that he’ll meet with Emerald’s current coaching staff and finalize his own staff in the coming weeks.

The Emerald coaching position will be the first job DuBose, a 1987 Abbeville High graduate, works outside of Abbeville County. DuBose said he’s grateful for the opportunity he had as defensive coordinator at Abbeville and is confident it has prepared him for his first head coaching gig.

“It was a pretty tough day around here telling everyone at Abbeville High School that you’re moving on,” DuBose said. “I’m so thankful to have served this community. I would not be having this opportunity at Emerald if it weren’t for the coaching staff I worked with here at Abbeville. I’m just thankful for them.

“At the same time, I’m just excited for the opportunity at Emerald. I can’t wait to get to work and get in the weight room with them. I’m just ready to go.”

Contact sports writer Wesley Dotson at 864-943-2530 or follow him on Twitter @WesleyPDotson.