Profiles of new head coaches: A look at Class AAAAA

Number of hires: 21

Best hire: Olten Downs, Creekside

Hardest to replace: Buck Godfrey, Southwest DeKalb

Best job: M.L. King

Toughest job: North Springs

Most interesting: Buck Godfrey of Southwest DeKalb retired after 30 seasons as DeKalb County Schools’ winningest coach (273-89-1 record).

Region 1

*Bainbridge hired Cairo defensive coordinator Jeff Littleton to replace Ed Pilcher, who resigned and took the head job at Berrien. Littleton had been at Cairo for three seasons. He also coached at Worth County, his alma mater; Dooly County; and Tift County. Littleton played for Worth County’s 1987 state championship team.

*Northside of Columbus promoted offensive coordinator Morgan Ingram, already the school’s athletics director, to replace Paul Cates, who remained on staff. Cates was 19-31-1 in five seasons and 2-7-1 in 2012. Ingram came to Northside with Cates in 2008 to become AD after two seasons as Hardaway’s head coach in 2006-07. His teams were 10-10. An Alabama native, Ingram was an assistant at Columbus from 1998 to 2005.

Region 2

*Houston County hired West Laurens defensive coordinator Von Lassiter to replace Greg Robinson as head coach and athletics director. Lassiter also has coached at Dublin, Mary Persons, his alma mater Bleckley County and Northside of Warner Robins. He was on staff for Northside’s 2007 state championship season. Robinson, 17-33 in his five seasons and 3-7 in 2012, cited family reasons for his resignation.

Region 3

*Bradwell Institute hired Camden County co-defensive coordinator Adam Carter to replace Jim Walsh, whose contract was not renewed after 19 seasons at the coastal Georgia school. Before joining Camden’s staff in 2011, Carter had coached at West Georgia (where he finished his playing career in 2006), North Paulding and South Carolina State. Bradwell was 2-8 last season in Region 3 and last had a winning season in 2009.

*Effingham County promoted 14-year assistant Buddy Holder to replace Rick Tomberlin, who called it a 30-year career with 236 victories overall (27th all-time in the GHSA) and a 14-17 record at Effingham. Holder had been running backs coach since 2004 but had served as offensive coordinator in previous seasons. A graduate of Evans, Holder is the son of hall-of-fame baseball coach Terry Holder and the brother of Grovetown football coach Rodney Holder.

*Windsor Forest hired Scott Schwarzer, head coach the past six seasons at Southwest High in Guilford, N.C., to replace Savannah native Jason Roundtree, who resigned in January, saying he planned to remain on staff. Schwarzer is a South Carolina native who played quarterback at Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C., before getting his first coaching job in 1998. His Southwest teams were 17-50. Windsor Forest fell to 1-9 in 2012 after eight consecutive seasons of making the playoffs and winning at least five games. Roundtree was 13-18-1 in three seasons.

Region 4

*Creekside hired Riverdale coach Olten Downs to replace Aaron Whittington, after a 7-4 season as an interim coach. Downs led Riverdale to its first playoff appearance in seven years last season and was 13-10 in his two years there. Downs was a defensive coordinator at Carver of Columbus from 2006 through 2010, during which Carver was 62-8. Downs’ brother, Gary Downs, is the head coach at Riverside Military Academy and is a former Atlanta Falcons player. Whittington was hired as head coach of Hazelwood East in Missouri.

*Forest Park promoted assistant John Diehl to replace Don Williams, who filled the job for one interim season and will remain with the school. Diehl has coached in Florida, New York and Missouri. A New York native, Diehl, 57, came to Forest Park in midseason last year. Forest Park was 0-10 in 2012, and Diehl will be its fifth coach in five seasons.

Region 5

*Hiram promoted defensive coordinator Chris Brown to replace Andy Dorsey, who remained as athletics director. Brown, a Pebblebrook graduate who came to Hiram with Dorsey in 2006, also had been the team’s strength and conditioning coach. Before coming to Hiram, Brown was an assistant at McEachern. Dorsey was 45-30 in his seven seasons at Hiram. His 2009 team won a region title and was 11-1. Hiram was 5-5 in 2012.

*South Paulding hired South Cobb head coach Ed Koester to replace Tim Glanton, who took an assistant’s job at Kennesaw State University. Koester was 26-27 at South Cobb, including 7-4, 8-4 and 7-3 over his most recent three seasons. South Cobb won its first state playoff game in history in 2011. Koester also has been a head coach at Bixby in Oklahoma and Arlington Heights in Texas. Glanton started the South Paulding program in 2006 and was 29-33 in seven seasons, including 6-4 each of the past three.

*Villa Rica hired Heritage (Conyers) coach Chad Frazier to replace Mike Falleur, who took the head job at his alma mater, Northside of Fort Smith, Ark. Frazier was 37-27 in six seasons at Heritage, including finishes of 7-4, 10-2 and 8-3 in his last three seasons. Heritage won its first region title in 2011. A Macon native, Frazier had been an assistant at Northgate (2002-06), Harris County (1999-2001), Hawkinsville (1998) and Lowndes (1997).

Region 6

*Arabia Mountain hired former Westlake head coach Stanley Pritchett to replace Christopher Beal, who started the program in 2009. Beal is now offensive coordinator at Creekside Christian Academy. A former NFL player who played with the Falcons, Pritchett was at Westlake last season but left after an 0-10 finish. Pritchett’s five-season record is 21-29. He led Washington of Atlanta to three consecutive winning seasons from 2008 to 2010. Arabia Mountain was 4-6 last season.

*Lakeside of DeKalb County hired Walnut Grove assistant Heath Hinton to replace Mike Rozier, who left after one season (1-9 finish) to become defensive line coach at Tift County. Hinton coached for six seasons at his alma mater, Brookwood, and was on the staff of the 2010 state championship team. Hinton also has coached at Telfair County and Coffee.

*M.L. King hired Newton coach Cortez Allen to replace interim coach Rober Freeman, who led M.L. King to an 11-1 finish as interim coach after Michael Carson was forced out just before the 2012 opener. Allen was on staff at M.L. King for its first three seasons of football from 2002 to 2004 under Kenny Barrow. Allen was 17-14 in three seasons at Newton. That’s the most wins for the school over a three-year stretch with one coach since 1993-95. Freeman was hired as an assistant at Arabia Mountain.

*Mays hired Duluth coach Corey Jarvis to replace Dominic Callaway, who was 35-18 in five seasons and landed at Therrell. Jarvis was 4-6 in each of his three seasons at Duluth, which was 2-28 in the previous three seasons. Jarvis had a 49-11 record in five seasons at M.L. King beginning in 2005. Mays was 5-5 last season, its first non-winning season since 2004. The program has not won a playoff game since 2007. Jarvis is a graduate of Atlanta’s Harper High and grew up about 10 miles from Mays.

*Southwest DeKalb hired former Decatur and Tri-Cities head coach Michael Tanks, an SWD faculty member who was out of coaching since 2007, to replace Buck Godfrey, who retired after 30 seasons as DeKalb County Schools’ winningest coach (273-89-1 record). Tanks played for Godfrey’s first two SWD teams and later for Florida State and for teams in the World League of American Football. He was an assistant coach at SWD, Banneker and Westlake before taking the past five years off from coaching to spend with his school-age children. He was head coach at Decatur (2005-06) and Tri-Cities (1997-2001).

Region 7

*Creekview hired Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder to replace Al Morrell, who retired from public schools and later took the head job at Fellowship Christian. Crowder won a state championship at Chattahoochee in 2010 and was 60-40 there in nine seasons. He previously had been an assistant coach at Camden County and was part of its 2003 state title team.

*Forsyth Central hired Toombs County coach Shane Williamson to replace Chris Bennett, who resigned after seven seasons and joined brother Craig Bennett on Cambridge’s staff. Williamson was 24-29 at his alma mater Toombs County (2008-12) and 42-24-2 at Swainsboro (2002-07). He also has been an assistant at Tift County (1999-2001), Appling County (1998-99) and Montgomery County (1996-97). Forsyth Central last had a winning season in 2001.

*North Springs hired Mason Creek Middle head coach Steve Horton to replace Maj. (Ret.) Todd Powers, who remains the school’s senior army instructor after two seasons as head coach. Horton was head coach at Lithia Springs and was 13-37 in five seasons but 5-5 in 2010, after which he resigned for family reasons. Horton also has coached at Eagle’s Landing (2003), South Gwinnett (2004) and Monroe Area (2005). He was head coach for three seasons (2000-02) at Rincon of Tucson, Ariz, his hometown. North Springs has lost 40 consecutive non-forfeited games. The official losing streak stands at 33.

Region 8

*Clarke Central promoted defensive coordinator Ahren Self to replace Leroy Ryals, who took the head job at Thomasville. Clarke was 5-6 in 2012 but is 54-16-1 since Self joined Clarke’s staff in 2007. Self previously coached 10 seasons in college with stops at Chattanooga, Elon, Syracuse and his alma mater, The Citadel.

*Heritage of Conyers hired Jackson coach Mike Parris to replace Chad Frazier, who took the head coaching job at Villa Rica. Heritage made the playoffs each of the past three seasons under Frazier. Parris, a Stone Mountain native, was 123-67 in 17 seasons at Jackson. He’s taken two schools to the semifinals – Jackson in 2000 and Forest Park in 1995.

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7 comments Add your comment

DeKalbFB1

August 13th, 2013
1:21 pm

Best job: M.L. King enough is said!!!!

rwdekalb

August 13th, 2013
1:49 pm

@Todd. Will you guys do a story on the number of transfers that the top schools get. Seems lik I remember a report on this from you guys in the recent past

SpottsFan31313

August 13th, 2013
8:39 pm

Bradwell Institute has hired a Great Coach from Camden County. He has done wonders already at Bradwell Institute. He has the entire community excited. We all have bought into his vision and new rebuilding program.

Sportsnut

August 14th, 2013
5:42 am

Congratulations Mike. Good Luck this season cousin.

DekalbAAAAA

August 14th, 2013
9:28 pm

Tanks appears to be doing a good job,watched swd practice,looked much better than last year offensively. Mlk is by far the best job though Coach allen has all the talent in the world to work with ov there. Don’t kno about Arabia coach though,guess I’ll see

Todd Holcomb

August 15th, 2013
10:38 am

rwdekalb – Sorry to respond late. No, we won’t have a story on the schools that get the most transfers. We did have a story on the top players who transferred.

http://blogs.ajc.com/georgia-high-school-sports/2013/08/06/norcross-boyd-bush-among-transfers-to-watch-in-2013/

rwdekalb

August 17th, 2013
4:42 pm

I was able to see mlk, stephensen and tucker play online. Tucker and Mlk looked good. Stephensen lost but to a very good N Gwinnett team. Stephensen defense looked good though
Did anyone see the Swd-Newton game?