Olten Downs, who led Riverdale to its first playoff appearance in seven years last season, is the new head coach at Creekside in Fairburn.
Downs was 13-10 in two seasons at Riverdale and 7-4 in 2012 as the Raiders had their first winning season since 2006.
‘’It was difficult to leave Riverdale,’’ Downs said Tuesday. “When I took it over, it wasn’t in the best of shape, and we got it turned around. We had a great senior class coming back, but I felt that at Creekside I could turn that program on the elite level on the state of Georgia. They have that type of talent.’’
Creekside has a talented rising senior class that includes quarterback Evan Berry and linebacker Elliot Berry, brothers of NFL safety Eric Berry.
Downs also said that he was attracted to a school that had its own stadium on campus. Riverdale and other Clayton County schools share stadiums.
Downs, 28, was a defensive coordinator at Carver of Columbus from 2006 through 2010, during which his teams were 62-8. Downs played on Shaw’s 2000 state championship team and later for Tennessee State. Downs’ brother, Gary Downs, is the head coach at Riverside Military Academy and is a former Atlanta Falcons player.
Creekside was 7-4 last season under Aaron Whittington, who got the job late after Johnny White was forced to resign last summer.
Downs said spring practice will begin May 9. He wasn’t sure if any of his Riverdale staff would join him at Creekside.
‘’Creekside has always had a rich tradition of having great players, a lot to go on to play college ball, and I know there’s a lot of talent in the school and the Fairburn area,’’ Downs said. “I know if I can come in and lay down the foundation and have kids buy in, we’ll be successful.’’