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.
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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
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