Peachtree Ridge’s Bill Ballard approved to be White County’s new head football coach

Bill Ballard led Peachtree Ridge to the 2008 state championship game (AJC photo)

Bill Ballard led Peachtree Ridge to the 2008 state championship game (AJC photo)

White County High School will introduce Bill Ballard as its new football coach on Friday.

Ballard, who has coached the past four seasons at Peachtree Ridge, was approved by the White County school board on Thursday night, according to the Gainesville Times. It happened on the same day that Ballard lost his father to cancer.

“It’s a very good day for me and my family and we’re excited about this opportunity,” Ballard told Adam Kron of the Times. “Of course it’s hard when you lose your father, it’s something no one expects to deal with and be happy about it … It’s tough.”

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Ballard has an 89-22 record in nine seasons as a head coach, including the first five at Tucker High School. He moved over to Peachtree Ridge in 2007 and led the Gwinnett County school to an appearance in the 2008 Class AAAAA state championship game.

What coaching change has surprised you the most since the end of the high school football season? Please post below.

51 comments Add your comment

JHoops

March 25th, 2011
2:25 am

I guess the heat at Peachtree Ridge got too hot for him. There were no more parents with kids coming up through their feeder system that were going to deal with his politics. After losing kids to North Gwinnett and then not beating them that will get to you especially when you didn’t make the playoffs because you favored those “political” kids. From Tucker to Peachtree Ridge and now to the mountains of North Georgia, retirement must be on the horizon.

Ref97

March 25th, 2011
7:22 am

As a Football Ref, he is the MOST out of controlled Coach I have ever seen. He stops Coaching after the first flag. If, he is going to the mountains an can’t handle the Ref’s in the Atlanta Area, he will stop Coaching before the game starts. To all my Ref buddies in the Mountains, Good Luck you will have you full and should make for some great conversation at your meetings

MIKE

March 25th, 2011
8:13 am

I have no idea what ref97 just said?

Devil's Advocate

March 25th, 2011
8:52 am

What’s this “political” kids business? PR has been highly competitive since they started playing including Ballard’s run. I don’t know the man but was just curious about the politics involved. I have seen programs at the youth and high school levels that play politics and the outcome is usually a mediocre tradition resulting from playing the wrong players at the wrong positions

Norcross_blue_man

March 25th, 2011
9:00 am

Great…..he sucks

Ridge Grillmaster

March 25th, 2011
10:25 am

Any news on the PRHS replacement for football head coach???

MUFFINMAN

March 25th, 2011
11:04 am

I’ve heard he grew tired of all the dads hounding him after ever game. I’ve also heard that the administration at PRHS is not the greatest when it comes to support. In fact, the word in Gwinnett is that PRHS is a coaching nightmare.

billdog

March 25th, 2011
11:14 am

Can you imagine having to deal with a job change (interviewing, resigning, media management, etc.) that will involve moving your family and losing your father in a very short time span? Condolences to Coach Ballard and his family.

Hopefully those that will make the head coach decision will take the opportunity to give the ENTIRE community (not just a select few) a vehicle to communicate what they want to see in a coach, AND in the running of the program. This would lead to a more unified community and broader support for the program. Transparency with finances and decision making processes, an ELECTED touchdown club board, best player plays, empowered assistants, and a designated recruiting coordinator, would go a long way in building the program.

My vote is Cecil Flowe. There’s sentiment among others for Fleetwood. If you analyze the demographics and the type of colleges players move on to, plus the playoff record, the Stephenson coach isn’t an option. Maybe Conrad Nix could be lured out of retirement? There’s plenty of proven GHSA AAAAA (or Alabama AAAAAA) coaching talent out there. Get the base values right and who the coach is does not seem to be as critical.

Noneya

March 25th, 2011
3:14 pm

No one seems to want to coach there. The Coach before him left due to similar reasons MuffinMan mentioned.

Quinn of the Ridge

March 25th, 2011
3:27 pm

What a great day for Peachtree Ridge football. My vote is also for Cecil Flowe. Everyone has spoken as if he’d like to leave Parkview, and he’s proven that he can be successful if he has adequate talent (3 titles at Parkview). After that, Mark Fleetwood would be an excellent choice. @Billdog, as great as it would be, I don’t see Conrad Nix coming out of retirement, and if he did, I don’t think he’d come to a North Georgia school. It’s unfortunate that Jared Zito left North Forsyth for Dacula, as I think he could also potentially be a great coach (Considering the talent he had at NF). I really like Kyle Hockman of McEachern, but I doubt he’s looking to leave McEachern. Chad Phillips of Starr’s Mill and Derek Cook of Kell, and Terry Crowder of Chattahoochee have been very successful, but again, why would they leave their current jobs?

Quinn of the Ridge

March 25th, 2011
3:29 pm

@Noneya- I wouldn’t say that no one wants to coach here, and I’m sure that if allowed, the community’s input will result in selecting the right coach. Blair Armstrong didn’t like the high profile parents he had to deal with, and was always a coach who liked smaller schools where he could JUST coach football. Ballard is a great coach, but he just isn’t a fit for Peachtree Ridge.

sportsfan2

March 25th, 2011
4:51 pm

Coach Ballard probably got tired of the parents thinking their kids are all D-1 when they are not. Who wouldn’t be happy at a school in the country where the community is supportive and don’t try to buy their kids playing time. Also Quinn of the Ridge – just because a coach won some games in a single season, does not make for a good coach . Chattahoochee, Starrs Mill and those small 4A schools with no competiion is a different ball game than coaching 5A. Chattahoochee could never compete at that level – so those coaches would be over their head.

Concerned Parent

March 25th, 2011
5:16 pm

Bill Ballard was not an effective communicator with his players, nor the community that he so wanted support from. Also was not a good judge of talent. Why would you leave Tucker @ the time he did? Just like PR old school coaching, new school athlete he couldn’t adapt. Talking about kids behind their back (not good)When you think you know it all then there is a problem. I have watched his practices no real teaching at all. Sorry for your loss Bill, and good luck in White County…Time to move on. P.S. The whole staff needs to go as well. Fresh start is needed. especially Matt Winslett.

crash001

March 25th, 2011
9:41 pm

Enter your comments here

crash001

March 25th, 2011
9:42 pm

No one has mention Ron Gatrell of Stephenson. Please apply Ron we will help you pack.

Quinn of the Ridge

March 25th, 2011
10:21 pm

@Sportsfan- I understand that some of those guys wouldn’t be great. However, I don’t think that Chattahoochee would be unsuccessful in 5A because of a lack of coaching, it would be a lack of talent. At Peachtree Ridge, there is more talent than at the Hooch. @Crash001- there is a disgruntled, former PRHS backup player who is mumbling on another forum about hiring Reggie Perry or Ron Gartrell. While both men have gotten a lot of students into college, neither have produced a successful playoff run, and have underachieved with the talent that is at Stephenson. We are trying to move out of underachievement, not make it worse. There are plenty of dream coaches that I’d like, but none would be realistic (Jeff Herron, Rush Propst, Rance Gillespie). We will likely have to find someone from North Georgia, or possibly Alabama, and to be frank, I’m not sure how what type of interest this opening will get. I’d really like Kyle Hockman of McEachern, but I’m not sure he is interested. Cecil Flowe would be a great fit.

sportsfan2

March 26th, 2011
5:38 am

@Quinn of the Ridge – yes PRHS has more talent than Hooch – but a good coach can use what he has and win some games. My point is that Hooch (with the same players except an addition of some recruits from other schools) could not win in 5A, but went undefeated in 4A – the competion and level of talent is not at the 4A level – it has nothing to do with the coach. PRHS needs to get someone from out of state.

Quinn of the Ridge

March 26th, 2011
8:58 am

@Sportsfan2, if only…. For some reason, i don’t think we are smart enough to go out of state like North did to get Bob Sphire.

Ptree Ridge Math Guru

March 26th, 2011
11:03 am

I love all the classy big-bad-billy-bad a#$@ that can talk smack behind their keyboards. Ballard’s career record speaks volume about his ability to put good product on the field year-in and year-out. Obviously the ignorant posters don’t know what being a football coach entails when practice and games are not being played. DeKalb’s teaching requirements and low pay is not conducive to successful HS Football programs. Gwinnett is not much better. Not a good judge in talent? Look who he’s coached in the past, especially at Tucker.

Concerned Parent

March 26th, 2011
3:25 pm

@Ptree Ridge Math Guru. And how many state championships? Why didn’t they want him there either? Did they win after he left? I rest my case! Also I am not afraid to voice my opinion in a public forum. Date? AND TIME? MY FRIEND…… Let it, and him rest… Time to move on. The kids don’t want him, nor does the community. next……. P.S. former HS Coach as well.

brick

March 26th, 2011
8:02 pm

Seems its the same in the big schools as the small town schools, play the kids that have a name that means something in the area or move on. Do some of you people really think a coach doesn’t put the players he feels gives his team the best chance to win a game? But an interesting comment high in the forum, hire a recruiting coordinator, yes that exactly what hs sports is suppose to be about. I don’t know Coach Ballard, but he has done a good job of making Peacetree Ridge known around the state, they have won alot of games, and PTRHS will be lucky to find someone who matches that, you can bet whoever wants the job will talk to Ballard to find out why he left before they accept.

Spotter

March 26th, 2011
11:14 pm

Coach Ballard sounds like a very good man compared to Chip Walker at Sandy Creek. Walker pretends not to know his program’s booster are recruiting kids from all over Atlanta. Walker is just raking them in. Henry County, Eastside and Stockbridge watchout! Folks are reporting being offered apartments in Tyrone. LOL

Mike

March 27th, 2011
9:27 am

I wish him all the luck at White County but when you put letters from recruits in a drawer and not give them to players and their parents, you are going have issues with the community. When you tell recruits that you can’t pull certain kids out of class to meet them but pull the one’s you brought in from other schools to meet the recruits, you are going to have problems with the community. When you tell one college that a child is signed with a college that you have a relationship with, even if the child is not… you are going to have a problem with the community. When other Gwinnett Coaches have to hunt down contact information for recruits for your boy’s,… you are going to have a problem in the community. So with all that being said yes it may be a hard area to Coach, but any high profile job in a football city is going to be hard to Coach when it is not about the boy’s.

G from Grayson

March 27th, 2011
9:53 am

Grayson’s D Coordinator Robert Andrews would be a great hire for the Ridge!!!!!

Ptree Ridge Math Guru

March 27th, 2011
11:15 am

@Concerned Parent. You are alluded to throughout these posts as the probable reason Coach Ballard is leaving us. What NFL team did you play for? Not every kid is a Div I prospect. CB has put plenty through his systems to know the difference. Take off your dad goggles.

Concerned Parent

March 27th, 2011
11:59 am

@ Ptree Ridge Math Guru. Let it go! He is gone, the kids are happy, and that is what it is all about in the first place. ( not you or I) Blogs are about opinions, you have yours, and I have mine period. Have a great day! :-)

Mr. Peachtree Ridge

March 27th, 2011
12:42 pm

I am in agreement with JHOOPS and can vouch for anyone who mentioned issues as it relates to politics, recruiting, teaching, and feeder system. It is a very political climate indeed at PRHS, among the booster club,etc. There isnt a thing such as competition and quite frankly the coach had lied to parents,etc. This definately wasnt the inmates running the asulym because the coach was lacking in communication skills. You never walk by a parent without saying hello. Its common courtesy. He spoke to whoever he wanted to. Truth be told, players werent developing and practices were counter productive. There was alot of standing around because the JV practiced with the Varsity. There were also times when a few of the Juniors and even one the top sophmores in the State would be play in the JV game for if it was against a team like Mill Creek or North Gwinnett. Those players dominated in those games and it really wasnt any benefit for them to play. The weight and conditioning program left alot to be desired and this coming Senior class would have been the first that would have been tin the program since he started. There was alot of talent previously, there still is, but the teaching left alot to be desired. Quite frankly, there were rumblings about players transferring if he came back. Regarding recruitment, i had parents tell me that he tried to steer players to the few programs that he had relationships and refused to release game film to other colleges so that they can look at other players. There was another player who is at a top division II school who said that coach told him where his son was going to play. This parent had to put together film that he had of his sons games and send them to colleges himself. This top rated school took a look at it and offered him a scholarship. There are other situations as well. Regarding his sucessor, it would be good to clean house and get someone in with a new vision and attitiude. As for the administrators, i feel they are extremely supportive of whoever is coach. I dont see anything wrong with Ron Gartrell, but he probably wouldnt want to leave Stephenson anyway. As for Cecil Flowe, Parkview doesnt necessarily get alot of scholarships for there players and kids there are transferring to Stephenson.That would be too much of the same. If its a coach who runs the Spread, that is a plus and one who developes players, that is even better!

Mr. Peachtree Ridge

March 27th, 2011
12:50 pm

Coaching at PRHS is not a coaching nightmare. In fact, the parents are extremely supportive, but dont lie to parents and effectievly communicate with your players, tell him where you fit in the program and what you need to do to get better. He wasnt as forthright as he should have been. I have never seen any parent hounding him after a game. There are a few coaches on the staff that the players seem to like. I havent heard Winslettes name mentioned though lol

Concerned Parent

March 27th, 2011
1:27 pm

@Mr. Peachtree Ridge. I thought it was just me. You hit the nail on the head. Let us now move forward, this is old news. Amen!!!!

Mike

March 27th, 2011
2:19 pm

Out of the fire and into the back woods of North Georgia where everybody is related!

Mr. Peachtree Ridge

March 27th, 2011
2:54 pm

@Concerned Parent, some folks think I am talking just to be talking about what was going on at The Ridge. I agree with billdog and feel that an ELECTED TOUCHDOWN BOARD is the way to go. That board is more exclusive than inclusive and consist of those in which they had a relationship with prior to high school. It can rub folks the wrong way when you send an email asking for those who are interested to “interview” for a posiiton on the board or to asist in some other capacity. The pnly person conducting the interview should be the Head Coach. The Board is. not superior to any one else in that program and that how it was perceived. Unless they are paying for these positions, the board shouldnt be the judge and jury on who can help and who can’t. Any parent who wish to help should have been slotted in a position. Hopefully, the old board members would relinquish their positions and lets open it up to an open vote among parents. The coaches were lying to the players about where they stand in the program.

Cecil Flowe can stay at Parkview. Players there dont really get opportunities to compete at the next level. I am not referring to 4 or 5 star players. Thats easy. What about the kid who may be a little undersized at his position, the 2 and 3 star kid. The best players werent always playing and those who had major college talent never had an opportunity to make any plays offensively and didint maximize there talent defensively either. They should have played more of a role on the team, but the coach put those dudes on blast,although one got hurt. The stud Sophmore WR played sporadically and he was the best receiver on the team. Like any good team, these dudes should have been allowed to make plays and that did not happen.

Also, players were never informed on any voluntary camps they could attend(South carolina, Clemson), or and combines(NUC Combine),etc. Parents always were on their own to obtain this information.

Mr. Peachtree Ridge

March 27th, 2011
2:55 pm

Concerned Parent, that was my last post…Lets move on!

pridgedad

March 27th, 2011
5:41 pm

I have known coach Ballard for many many years, he is a great football coach and I can’t blame him for wanting to escape the Peachtree Ridge football nightmare..

justntime

March 27th, 2011
9:49 pm

Really appreciate what Coach Ballard did at PR Lets build on his success with Coach Fleetwood

guwinster

March 28th, 2011
10:09 am

Good luck finding a high profile coach at this time of the year. They’ll probably have to promote internally.

PRMOM

March 29th, 2011
11:01 pm

My son has played at PRHS for the last 2 years. We don’t play politics not line the booster club. My son earned his playing time with hard work and talent. Why I never had a real relationship Coach Ballard, he seemed like a honest man to me. My son has received all his coorespondence. My son received a fair chance to play and earn his starting position.

The Coach from Parkview has not been known for recruiting. If anything, we should look at Stephenson coaching staff model. How do they put 10 plus kids in D1 schools every year. My son’s loves Coach W.

PRMOM

March 29th, 2011
11:10 pm

@Mr Peachtree Ridge, what Varsity player played JV? Exactly, what are you talking about? There is a GHSA football that a kid can not play more than 6 quarters in a week. The Varsity Football team was spread so thin What Varsity starter or backup played JV? I am not talking about the the 3rd or 4th kid on the depth chart. Really, some of the stuff stated on this blog is crazy.

Maybe, I am blessed because I believe my son is talented because he truly is. He earned his time and position. I didn’t have to worry about the politics and if Coach Ballard spoke to me or not.

As for as recruiting, I have taken my son to several of the combines and payed for his highlight films out of my pocket. Other parents should try to do the same

Slinger

March 30th, 2011
2:41 pm

Funny how a coach leaves and everyone bashes him and discusses his shortcomings and lack of this and that. He took a team to the state finals just a season removed. I can’t blame him for leaving, just like many of you can’t be blamed for changing jobs at some time in your own careers.

Quinn of the Ridge

March 30th, 2011
5:18 pm

It’d be nice if the same person didn’t keep posting about Ron Gartrell using different fake names on the Gwinnett sports forums and on here.

STEINER

March 31st, 2011
3:09 pm

Concerned Parent:
Coach Winslette has been the glue that has held the Ridge together all the years through the different head coaches as they came and went…The record speaks for itself, 90 wins in 9 years….The weight room has been the backbone of the Peachtree Ridge program, and all of a sudden a group of athletes have come on the scene (some whose dads played pro ball) who don’t work with the weights like they did in the heyday of the Ridge..In fact, they are too lazy to try to make themselves any better…..They are more concerned about how much work they can get out of rather than than getting in there and working hard….COULD NAME SOME NAMES HERE BUT I WON’T, BUT THE NEXT HEAD COACH WILL HAVE TO DROP THE HAMMER ON THESE GUYS AND MAKE SURE THEY DO THEIR FAIR SHARE OF THE WORK, NO MATTER WHO THEIR DADS ARE…..Sure Bill Ballard got tired of these “helpers” who never contriubuted a dime to anything, but always had advice for him at every turn….If they know so much, maybe one of them will apply for the job and show everybody how to out do what Bill Ballard did…..After having played for Coach Winslette, he’s about everybody working in the weight room and taking care of their business….That’s what built the program……This group of athletes ain’t gonna beat anybody, cause they don’t listen to the coaches, they listen to their dads…..AND THEIR DADS WORK HARD ON GETTING THESE PRIMA DONNAS OUT OF HARD WORK…..FROM NOT EVEN BEING A SCHOOL TO WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED AT PEACHTREE RIDGE HAS BEEN AMAZING, AND I AM GLAD AS A PLAYER TO HAVE BEEN A PART OF IT…2010 RIDGE SENIOR…..

LION KING

March 31st, 2011
3:27 pm

Mr. Peachtree Ridge:
While Coach Winslette loves Peachtree Ridge, he probably doesn’t think now is the time to work on getting that first head coaching job, LOL….Too many issues at the Ridge right now with the new influx of famous parents who don’t even join the Booster Club but who want to call the shots….Probably will consult with his dad, whose won 250+ games, he can probably give him some good guidance and advice….Why would Bill Ballard want to fight with these idiots when he can take his outstanding record and get paid more money….Yea, he’ll probably make more at White County than he did at the Ridge, cause Gwinnette don’t pay coaches crap…..But Bill Ballard never leaves the Ridge without this group of parents who have come our way….We will be glad when they are gone….THE PLAYERS WHO ARE WILLING TO WORK LOVE COACH WINSLETTE, BUT THOSE WHO TRY TO GET OUT OF THINGS AND DON’T WANT TO WORK WON’T LIKE HIM BECAUSE HE WILL CHALLENGE THEM ON THEIR WORK ETHIC…..

LION KING

March 31st, 2011
3:35 pm

Mr. Peachtree Ridge:
Peachtree Ridge would be a better place if those people who thought about transferring went on and transferred..Don’t matter where they play, they won’t put their heart and soul into anybody’s program, all they care about is “what’s in it for me?”"..Coach Ballard would still be here, and all would be fine….With the 5-0 start last year, beating 3 teams who were region champions, it would have been another great year at the Ridge except for all the injuries….

Wildcat Dad

March 31st, 2011
4:19 pm

A lot of this and that on this blog post. The Players are the ones who are going to suffer if something is not done NOW. Region 7 AAAAA is by far one of the toughest regions to play. With school like Duluth (2nd season High Profile Coach) and Region 8 team STARTING sophomores in Key skilled positions…these program will be at the top of the heap shortly.

Goals:
1. Need to find a TEACHER who coaches. (Communication and Teaching Skills)
2. Coach with a plan (Execution and Preparedness)
3. Rebuild the feeder program (Recruiting)
4. Stop the mass exit of talent (Rebuilding Trust)
5. Give every play the skills need for the next level. (D1, DII or DIII whatever the level.)
6. Play the best players, Freshmen-Sr. (Your Players will work harder if they believe that have an honest chance to play regardless of Grade level)

Good luck this year Folks and well see you across the field. Two different school, same community. Keep it positive and keep is moving forward.

True Lion

April 16th, 2011
5:20 am

Funny how so many people can talk so badly about some truly amazing coaches and the volunteer booster club parents. Look around and see who cares about the program and works hours on end to try to build a better program. Stop thinking your kid is Gods gift to football and do him a favor by teaching them about character and work ethic. Bitch, bitch bitch! We are tired of it! If you don’t like it then leave….stop bringing down our coaches and our program. We will be better off without you! And as far as the booster club goes…try joining it before you complain. Easy to sit back and critisize

Concerned Parent

May 3rd, 2011
1:22 pm

Congrats to Coach Fleetwood! I have heard nothing but good things about you from the kids, and I wish you the best of luck! Now let’s go to work!!!!!

dan

September 17th, 2011
12:44 am

I played for Coach Ballard at Lakeside High back in the 90’s when he was the DC for Coach Phil Lindsey. My cousin played for Coach Ballard his first year that Peachtree Ridge. I enjoyed playing for Ballard. He’s a hard nosed coach who preaches discipline and fundamentals. The guy knows his stuff. From an X’s and 0’s standpoint, the guy is as good as anyone out there. But what he lacks are those great interpersonal skills, something the great head coaches( Coach Lindsey, Billy Henderson, Cecil Flowe etc.) have. Great head coaches are also politically cognizant of making sure they keep the lines of communication open between the parents and administration. That is especially true in this age of the Helicopter Parent. I can’t speak about the situation at Peachtree Ridge, but it seems like the problems he has had so far at the Ridge and Tucker have come from breakdowns in communication. Ballard also tends to favor the studs on the team, because he was a star player like them. But what he fails to understand is that its the role players(3 star guys) that make or break your team. Again great coaches know how to utilize their role players, while good head coaches win by playing their best players. Ballard is like a 6 cylinder engine running on 5 cylinders. Once he nails down the social aspect of the game, he’ll be great instead of just VERY good. He’s certainly capable of it: the guy is mega-talented.

Fett absaugen

September 17th, 2011
6:30 am

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Live Stream

September 30th, 2011
12:04 am

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angel

November 12th, 2011
8:12 pm

Coach Ballard is an awesome man and coach! He coached my son at P.Ridge and my son was given a FULL football scholarship and i would never have been able to afford college for him! He is dedicated to his players and i wish him well!!!

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