Profiles of new head coaches: A look at Class AA

Number of hires: 12

Best hire: Leroy Ryals, Thomasville

Hardest to replace: T. McFerrin, Jefferson

Best job: Thomasville

Toughest job: Murray County

Most interesting: Ed Pilcher, who won five state championships at Thomas County Central, left Bainbridge to take the job at Berrien, which has not made the playoffs in 20 years.

Region 1

*Berrien hired Bainbridge coach Ed Pilcher, who won five state titles at Thomas County Central in the 1990s, to replace Rob Armstrong, who resigned after one season to become offensive coordinator at Clark Atlanta University. Pilcher’s record is 241-94-1 in 27 seasons as a head coach. Pilcher took the Bainbridge job in 2007 and made the playoffs three times but never advanced and was 30-23 in his five seasons. Berrien last had a winning season in 1995 (5-4-1).

*Thomasville hired Clarke Central coach Leroy Ryals to replace Richie Marsh, who resigned to become defensive coordinator at Southeastern University’s new football program in Lakeland, Fla. Ryals, a Sarasota, Fla., native, was 60-22-1 in his eight seasons in Athens. Clarke, a state power for two decades under retired coach Billy Henderson, had not won a playoff game since 1997 when Ryals’ 2009 team made the Class AAAA championship game against Sandy Creek. Marsh was 53-40 in his eight seasons, including 3-7 in 2012.

Region 2

*Atkinson County hired Druid Hills coach Kip Hall to replace Jody Stone, who was 4-36 in four seasons, 0-10 in 2012. Hall’s record was 19-51 at Druid Hills, an underfunded program that has not had a winning season since 1993. Druid Hills’ streak of 4-6 finishes in 2010-12 represents the best three-year run since 1991-93. Stone remained as athletics director at Atkinson, his alma mater.

*Bacon County promoted defensive coordinator Hildrick Garrison to replace Bobby Johns, who took the head job at Vernon High in Florida. Garrison has been an assistant coach at Bethune-Cookman, his alma mater (2003), Lake Wales, Fla. (2004); Thomasville (2005); Baker County, Fla. (2006-09); Milton, Fla. (2010); and Evans in Orlando (2011). Under Johns, Bacon County posted consecutive winning seasons (7-4, 6-5) for the first time since 1987-88.

*Toombs County hired Dublin head assistant and linebackers coach Steve Versprille to replace Shane Williamson, who took the head job at Forsyth Central. Versprille (pronounced verse-prilly) also has coached at Granby (1994-98) and Lake Taylor (1999-2006) high schools in his hometown of Norfolk, Va. Versprille played at Alabama under Bill Curry and Gene Stallings. Toombs was 24-29 in five seasons under Williamson and 7-3 in 2012.

Region 3

*Josey promoted offensive coordinator and former NFL player Raleigh Roundtree to replace John Noah, who was 10-30 in four seasons at a school that is looking for its first winning record since 1999. Roundtree was a guard for the Chargers and Cardinals for seven seasons and also played in the CFL, retiring after the 2007 season. He is in the South Carolina State sports hall of fame. He was named Noah’s successor before the 2012 season.

Region 4

*Putnam County promoted offensive coordinator Kyle Gourley to replace Ben Reaves, who took the same job at Walnut Grove. Gourley, 34, also is the school’s varsity baseball coach. A Coffee High graduate, Gourley was a football assistant at Monticello and Montgomery County before joining Putnam’s staff in 2011. Putnam County was 32-31-1 in six seasons under Reaves, 3-7 in 2012.

Region 5

*Bremen promoted alumnus and 17-year assistant coach Scott Hodges to replace Ricky Tolleson, who retired. Hodges, the offensive coordinator last season, has been with Bremen for all but two seasons since 1994. Bremen was 5-5 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

*Manchester promoted offensive coordinator Tanner Glisson to replace Greg Oglesby, who retired and remained as athletics director. Glisson is a former Manchester quarterback who has been on the staff of his alma mater since 2005 and previously coached at Greenville and Shaw. Oglesby was 129-59-2 in 17 seasons, won a state championship in 1997 and is the school’s all-time winningest coach.

Region 7

*Coosa promoted assistant Todd Wheeler to replace Chad Perry, who resigned and remained as athletics director. Wheeler, a former all-state player at Pepperell and all-SEC center at Georgia, has coached at Coosa, Pepperell, Model, Rome and Armuchee, all in his native Floyd County, which has inducted him into its sports hall of fame. He was 3-7 as Armuchee’s head coach in 2000. Perry was 40-42 in eight seasons, including 4-7 in 2012.

*Murray County hired Northwest Whitfield defensive coordinator Chad Brewer to replace John Hammond. A native of Polk County, Brewer coached for several seasons as an assistant at Southeast Whitfield. Murray was 0-20 under Hammond except for two wins by forfeit and is 7-63 over the past seven seasons.

Region 8

*Jefferson promoted offensive coordinator Ben Hall to replace the retiring 300-game winner T. McFerrin, who led Jefferson to its first state championship in 2012. Hall had been an assistant at Jefferson for four seasons, and his 2012 offense averaged 40.6 points in the playoffs. A Franklin County native, Hall also has coached at Flowery Branch and Furman, his alma mater.

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One comment Add your comment

What happens to the rest

August 16th, 2013
2:39 pm

Congrats on your retirement Coach O (Manchester)
– Gifted… c/o ‘85

Good luck to all the first year coaches