Ninety teams make head coaching changes: A look at Class AAAAAA

Over the next six days, GHSF Daily and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution will chronicle each head coaching change of the offseason, beginning today with Class AAAAAA.

Of the 412 football programs in the GHSA, 90 hired new head coaches. That’s about 1 in 4.5, which is a little more stable than the 1-in-4 ratio of the NFL and NCAA FBS division this offseason.

Of the 90 schools that changed coaches, 59 had losing records. Nine were 0-10. There were 27 head coaches who took the same position elsewhere in the offseason.

It’s not always a case of a bigger job, though. In a pair of surprising moves, Jeff Herron of mega-power Camden County downsized to Class A Prince Avenue Christian, while Ed Pilcher of Bainbridge moved to long-suffering Berrien. Those coaches have won nine state titles between them.

Colleges also lure top Georgia coaches. Auburn added Dell McGee of Carver (Columbus) to its staff. Kennesaw State’s new program nabbed Grant Chestnut of Central of Carroll County and Tim Glanton of South Paulding.

Then, there are the coaches lucky enough to finish their careers on their own terms. About eight coaches retired, and two were especially noteworthy.

T. McFerrin went out on top at Jefferson, winning a state championship to cap a career that began in 1968. McFerrin was head coach at eight Georgia high schools and led five to the state semifinals or better.

Buck Godfrey won 273 games, the most of any coach in DeKalb County Schools history. Godfrey was a head coach for 30 seasons, all at one school – Southwest DeKalb.

Godfrey was a beacon of a more stable time in high school sports. But McFerrin was a reminder that the revolving door of high school coaches is as old as the forward pass. It just seems to be spinning faster than ever.

Class AAAAAA

Number of hires: 12

Best hire: Matt Dickmann, Harrison

Hardest to replace: Jeff Herron, Camden County

Best job: Camden County

Toughest job: Druid Hills

Most interesting: Jeff Herron was154-18 in his 13 seasons at Camden County and put the program on the map nationally. He retired from public schools and took a job as head coach of Prince Avenue Christian, a Class A school near Athens.

Region 1

*Camden County promoted offensive coordinator Welton Coffey to replace Jeff Herron, who took the head job at Prince Avenue Christian. Coffey has coached at Camden since 2006 and was part of state championship teams in 2008 and 2009. Coffey came to Georgia in 2003 to be the offensive coordinator at Valdosta under Rick Darlington. Coffey had been head coach of his alma mater, Raines of Jacksonville, and led that school to a Class 4A championship in Florida in his first season there, 1997.

Region 2

*Newton hired Duluth receivers and head JV coach Terrance Banks to replace Cortez Allen, who took the head job at M.L. King. Banks came to Duluth with Corey Jarvis in 2010. He also has coached at Berkmar, Dunwoody and his alma mater, Lakeside of Atlanta. Newton was 5-6 in Region 2 last season.

*Druid Hills promoted defensive coordinator Mark Adams to replace Kipp Hall, who took the head job at Atkinson County. Adams, entering his fifth season at Druid Hills, has been a head coach at Avondale (2005-07) and Cross Keys (1998-2001) and assisted at Redan, Heritage (Conyers), Lithonia, Tucker and Jenkins County in 23 seasons on the sidelines. He’s a longtime head wrestling coach.

Region 3

*Westlake hired Shiloh defensive coordinator Bryan Love to replace Stanley Pritchett, who landed as Arabia Mountain’s head coach. Love was the first choice to be Tucker’s head coach in 2012 to replace Franklin Stephens but later declined over a contract issue. Love also has served as defensive coordinator during stops at Camden County (2008-11), McEachern (2003-07) and Spruce Creek, Fla. (2000-02). Westlake was 0-10 last season.

Region 4

*Harrison hired Matt Dickmann, head coach of Seminole Ridge in Loxahatchee, Fla., to take over for Bruce Cobleigh, who had inherited the job in the interim at mid-season last year. Dickmann started the Seminole Ridge program in 2005 and was winless in his first season but finished with three consecutive district championships. His record there was 52-33. Dickmann, an Ohio native, was an assistant coach for 18 years at Jupiter High in Florida. Harrison, which was a power in Cobb County under Cobleigh (1992-2007), fired coach Marty Galbraith during the 2012 season because of alleged off-the-field misconduct and finished 4-6, the Hoyas’ third straight losing season.

*South Cobb hired Burke County defensive coordinator Michael Youngblood to replace Ed Koester, who became head coach at South Paulding. Youngblood was Dunwoody’s head coach in 2009, when the DeKalb County school was 7-5. As an assistant, Youngblood was part of Burke County’s Class AAA championship team in 2011 and Tucker’s AAAA title team in 2008. South Cobb was 7-3 last season and 26-27 in five seasons under Koester.

Region 5

*Roswell promoted offensive coordinator John Ford to replace Justin Sanderson, who is now on Milton’s staff. Ford joined Roswell in 2008 and started as running backs coach and special teams coordinator. Ford had spent the previous five seasons at Harrison under Bruce Cobleigh. Ford played on Brookwood’s 1996 state championship team. Roswell was 3-7 last season under Sanderson, who was let go after Roswell suffered its first back-to-back losing seasons since 1978-79. Ford is the eighth Roswell head coach since 1954. All have been promoted from the Roswell staff.

Region 6

*Chattahoochee hired Brookwood assistant Michael Owens to replace Terry Crowder, who took the head job at Creekview. Owens has assisted at Brookwood since 2005 and was part of 2006 state runner-up and 2010 state championship teams. Owens was head coach at Peachtree Ridge for its first two seasons, 2003 and 2004. He has been an assistant at McEachern (1991, 1994-2002) and Presbyterian College (1992-93).

*North Forsyth hired Dutchtown coach Jason Galt to replace Blair Armstrong, who is now head coach of Hamilton County in Florida. Galt was 36-27 at Dutchtown, which was 4-26 in the three seasons before his 2007 arrival. His 2010 team was 11-2. A California native and former Georgia player, Galt has been an assistant at Cedar Shoals (1995), Clarke Central (1996-98), Cartersville (1999), Liberty County (2002-04) and Carrollton (2005-06). North Forsyth was 4-16 in Armstrong’s two seasons.

Region 7

*Habersham Central hired former Americus-Sumter coach Michael Pollock to replace Stuart Cunningham, who resigned but remained as a teacher at the school, which is his alma mater. Pollock’s record as a head coach Americus-Sumter and Cook was 36-17. He was forced to resign in mid-season of 2012 at Americus-Sumter because of a physical incident involving a player at a practice. Between stops at Cook and Americus, Pollock was offensive coordinator at Valdosta for three seasons. He also has coached at Swainsboro, Washington County and Appling County. Cunningham was 14-27 in four seasons.

*Duluth promoted assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Conner to replace Corey Jarvis, who took the head job at Mays. A Vidalia native, Conner, 33, had been at Duluth for two seasons and previously coached at Jefferson under Bill Navas, now Duluth’s athletics director, and later T. McFerrin. Duluth has finished 4-6 each of the past three seasons.

Region 8

*Dacula hired Lumpkin County coach Tommy Jones to replace Jared Zito, who resigned and became Westlake’s offensive coordinator. Jones is a Brookwood graduate who worked at Dacula during the 2000 and 2001 seasons under Kevin Maloof. Jones was 27-43 in seven seasons at Lumpkin County, a school without much football tradition that jumped to Class AAAA from AA during Jones’ tenure.

Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.

20 comments Add your comment

Camden74

August 12th, 2013
11:43 am

It’s interesting as to who you guys consider being the BEST hire. Let’s see at season’s end. :-)

FootballTopFan(c)

August 12th, 2013
4:17 pm

FootballTopFan(c) would like to wish all the 412 Head Football Coaches in the GHSA the best of luck and success this season !!!

Hubie Green

August 12th, 2013
4:35 pm

As little as high school coaches are paid in contrast to the hours they work, it is amazing to see all positions filled. I say God bless every high school coach out there.

Dekalb Co Guy

August 12th, 2013
4:49 pm

Considering the other schools on the list, Druid Hills probably is the toughest job when you factor in resources to work with it and ability for long term success, but considering the region they play in, I wouldnt be suprised to see them have one of the better seasons among the teams with new coaches.

Alex

August 12th, 2013
7:39 pm

Meadowcreek is also looking for a head coach now in Region 8 as Coach Grimmage just recently resigned. Associate Head Coach George Pugh is the interim head coach.

Fred

August 13th, 2013
12:00 am

Meadowcreek is region 7. I hate to see Grimmage go. He seemed truly interested in the boys playing and helping them.

NoDistrictLinesInDekalb

August 13th, 2013
7:04 am

Druid Hills has it’s work cut out for them best of luck to them. I hope they have bigger numbers turn out than most years. They haven’t had a winning season since 92 & 93. Then you have to go back to 1985 ! Druid Hills is not one of those programs kids jump to but hoping for the best for them.
Pugh back at Meadowcreek? Well you know that won’t last long as he awaits another job in the college level. You know sometimes the best candidate for a head coach doesn’t always take the job because of money or just the situation surrounding the program. “Best Hires” don’t always turn out to be the best so lets…………adopt that wait and see attitude……….Just a few more days until kickoff.

DOSTA DAWG

August 13th, 2013
7:50 am

@ Hubie Green – I don’t know where your from, but all the coaches in Region1 make $100,000 plus!!!!

wolfbait67

August 13th, 2013
8:14 am

good morning Camden 74:: I agree with you “Release the ‘cats, ’cause they will be gone by round two come November

Camden74

August 13th, 2013
11:42 am

Wolfie wolfie wolfie…… Ya know, that’s possible, but I doubt it! At least if that’s the case, they’ll get beat by a good team. That’s more than I can say about the former 2A bullies! You’re out of your den early this year, what’s the occasion? Release the CATS! :-D

SportsFan31313

August 13th, 2013
4:46 pm

Camden74,

Bradwell Institute hired a few of your former coaches. Much appreciative to have Adam Carter and others from Camden County to replace Jim Walsh Jr. former Head Football Coach and Athletic Director of Bradwell Institute. he is really doing a fantastic job at Bradwell Institute. Let the rebuilding begin.

Camden74

August 13th, 2013
7:49 pm

SportFan31313…….I remember at one point, Bradwell was one of the best programs in the state. If a former Camden guy can help right the ship, I’m all for it. I hope the program can/will get back to it’s former glory! :-)

Black123456789

August 13th, 2013
8:11 pm

The problem with Druid hills is that the admin, parents, and AD ran the school down! The best thing happen to the school was boys basketball in 2002 to 2007! Then Patrick ruin it all! But too many people wanted to ruin the school! That school should have been better!

SpottsFan31313

August 13th, 2013
8:31 pm

Yes Camden74,

We (Bradwell Institute) have beaten some of the best programs in the state. We have beateb Nick Hyder’s Valdosta Wildcats in the playoff advancing to the South Georgia Championship. (last game before playing for the State Title)

We have beaten Warner Robins in the playoffs advancing to the South Georgia Championship.

We have beaten The Thompson Bulldogs, Satesboro Blue Devils, Peach County, Washington County, Carver Of Columbus, Baldwin County, Coffee County, and even Camden County themselves.

Powerful Teams such as Washington County, Peach County, Carver Of Columbus, and Baldwin County have NEVER beaten Bradwell Institute in Bradwell Institute School History.

That was the glory days of winning tradition that Bradwell Institute use to have, and was very well respected in the State. But several years ago, Bradwell Institute lost it’s mojo do to a complacent coach who in my opinion, Did not want to go the extra mile to stregnthen the program or do whatever it took to keep the program in tact. As a result, the program fell apart and great players no longer wanted to play. We needed desperately a new coach with a new vision to rebuild this program back to contention.

The Fans, and supporters in the city of Hinesville is very excited to have Adam Carter, and the offensive coordinator from Camden County. The players are excited and they are doing things tht we had not seen since Ron Beachum was the Head Football Coach.

Everyone is very optimistic and confidence is very high. We all believe within three years Bradwell Institute will be a Football Perinnial Power again.

Camden74

August 13th, 2013
10:25 pm

SportFan31313……I hope you’re right and Bradwell is on their way back to being a State Power in football. I played against a few of those very good Bradwell teams….. Good luck! :-)

Sportsnut

August 14th, 2013
5:38 am

Being a former student at DHHS and growing up in or near it’s district, I find it amazing that so many know so much about DHHS. And they are wrong. This school has been a perfect example of regression by population decrease. The area around the school does not have many kid’s. Many of it’s students come from the old Clarkston, Shamrock and Avondale districts that are miles away. The neighborhoods that contribute to the student enrollment are full if talent but are also dangerous. Getting kid’s to participate in school activities is sometimes difficult in these area’s. I say give it time and they will build a program they can be proud of.

It is not a bad job, it just need’s someone who can sell the kid’s on the idea. I predict they will have a winning season this year.

Sportsnut

August 14th, 2013
5:39 am

Sorry, “full of talent”

Black123456789

August 14th, 2013
4:00 pm

Sportsnut, I think I know a little something about Druid Hills, you are correct in some ways but remember how basketball team won then all of a sudden certain rich parents got upset because their kids had to ride the bench! Then Partick took parents side and totally screwed the school! Kept football coach on and he hadn’t won in 10 years!

SportsFan31313

August 16th, 2013
4:02 pm

Camden74,

This is Coach Adam Carter first year and he has gotten a lot of things done. Bradwell Institute is a work in progress. So much that needs to be done. Bradwell Institute is in it’s first year official rebuilding phase. I don’t expect them to win the Region this year or make the post season playoff. The players are small, and Coach Carter is relying on speed. A lot of fundanemtals had to be re taught eben by Coach Carter himself. But we do have a new and imporved Bradwell Institute Tigers Football as compared to the past several years of mediocre to dismal seasons. I give it two to three years and you will Bradwell Institute back into team of contention.

Camden74

August 17th, 2013
10:11 am

SportsFan31313…….Small? When did Bradwell become small? I remember Bradwell having some of the biggest players around, what the heck happened? :-)