Cradle of coaches: Six Paulding County grads are Georgia head football coaches

Paulding County High School has advanced in the football state playoffs only one time in 40 years. Only 10 of its teams have had winning seasons. Only one player has made first-team all-state.

So it will come as a surprise to many, perhaps even to Paulding County itself, that the school is the cradle of high school football coaches in Georgia.

The school, about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta, has graduated seven current high school head coaches, six in Georgia. No other school has more than four in Georgia.

”This is very interesting,” said Paulding County graduate Adam Carter, the former Camden County defensive coordinator hired this year as head coach of Bradwell Institute in Hinesville. ”I would not say there was anything specifically about Paulding County High School that led to seven of us coaching, but I can tell you the coaches and the administration when I was there made a great influence on my life and career choice. Football and coaching young people are my passion.’’

And so it has been for six others Paulding County grads.

They include Brent Budde of Woodstock, Scott Hendrix of Cedartown, J.B. Arnold of Jefferson County, Ken Cofer of Cook and Jon Lindsey of Irwin County. A seventh Paulding graduate, Cameron Pettus, is head coach at Belleville West in Illinois.

Brent Budde

Brent Budde (photo courtesy of Skip Daugherty Photography)

The six in Georgia are spread from Bradwell on the Georgia coast to Cedartown on the Alabama border. Irwin County and Cook are in South Georgia. Jefferson County is near Augusta. Only Budde at Woodstock remains in the metro Atlanta area. There is one Paulding County grad coaching in each of the six classifications in Georgia, and four of the six have had their teams ranked in the Top 10 at some point this season.

‘’Wow, I had no idea we were in each classification,’’ Cofer said. ‘’I pull for them every week. I look up scores every Saturday, and the other five (in Georgia) will be the first I look up. They all definitely have my support. Except for J.B. when we play each other.’’

Cofer’s Cook team plays Arnold and Jefferson County on Friday in a non-region game for the second straight year. The series marks the only time Paulding graduates have faced one another as head coaches.

The oldest of the Paulding alumni are Arnold and Hendrix, both 1986 graduates. Arnold was a lineman, Hendrix a tight end. They went on to West Georgia, where they were roommates.

J.B. Arnold

J.B. Arnold

‘’I have always wanted to coach, and me and Scottie used to talk about it all the time,’’ Arnold said.

Arnold cites his high school head coaches, Jimmy Dorsey for three seasons and Bob Swafford for one, as having encouraged him to be a coach. So did his position coach as a junior, ‘’a green rookie’’ named Jeff Herron, the current head coach at Prince Avenue Christian. Herron went on to win three state titles at Camden County.

Hendrix said his main influences came before high school. He credits junior high coaches Ed Fowler, Ralph Harmon and John Puckett with planting the coaching bug in his ear.

”They were good men with high character that made an impression on me,” Hendrix said. “Coach Puckett ordered me my first coaching book when I was in seventh grade.’’

Ken Cofer

Ken Cofer

Two years behind Arnold and Hendrix was Cofer, whose father, Mike Cofer, was a long-time coach in Georgia. Ken Cofer’s coach at Paulding was Ken Phillips, a former player under his father at Manchester in the 1960s.

Ken Cofer’s parents thought so much of Ken Phillips that they named their son after him.

‘’My dad and Coach Phillips have passed on,’’ Cofer said. “I hate that they both never got to see me coach. I got into coaching because I remember seeing my dad loving it when I was around 4- or 5-years-old. His relationship with kids was what drew me in also. I was hooked and never thought about doing anything else.’’

The fact that Cofer, like Arnold and Hendrix before him, never played in a playoff game in high school didn’t seem to matter. No Paulding team before them had made the playoffs, either. Paulding earned a brief Top 10 state ranking in 1986, when Cofer was a senior, after a 5-0 start . The team finished 5-5.

But luck would change for the next two – Lindsey and Budde. They were the starting halfbacks in the wishbone when Paulding broke the playoff drought in 1990, under new coach Chuck Budde, Brent’s father. Cameron Pettus also was on that team.

‘’I played with Brent my senior year,’’ Lindsey said. ‘’Brent was a sophomore. I sent Brent to the hospital after a hit right after he had moved down from Illinois. We told him it was his welcome to Georgia. We still laugh about it today. Well, at least I do. We became good friends and still are.’’

Neither was surprised that the other became a head coach.

‘’I wanted to be a coach because I loved the game from being around it my whole life,’’ said Brent Budde, whose father just came out of retirement to join Budde’s Woodstock staff as an assistant.

Lindsey also wanted to be a coach at an early age. ‘’I knew from the time I was in middle school,’’ he said. “Not sure why. I just loved playing ball and the strategy that is involved.’’

Irwin County coach Jon Lindsey

Jon Lindsey

In 2000, Paulding finally broke through and won a playoff game, making the state semifinals in the Georgia Dome and finishing 12-2. A key player on that team was Carter, a starter at running back and safety.

A few years later, Carter later got to know his fellow Paulding alumnus Lindsey at Camden County. Both became coordinators there under Herron.

Meanwhile Paulding County football began to slump again. The county saw its population nearly double to 80,000 from 1990 to 2000 and then to 145,000 in 2010. New county schools opened at Hiram (2000), South Paulding (2006) and North Paulding (2008).

That’s why the Paulding seven refer to their alma mater as The Paulding County High School. It is the oldest, dating to 1969. It certainly has a history like no other.

“Paulding County was a great place to grow up,’’ Lindsey said. “Not sure why so many of us turned out to be coaches, but all of us are highly competitive. Coaching football in Georgia gives us an opportunity to compete at a high level.’’

39 comments Add your comment

Tony Geinzer

October 15th, 2013
4:19 am

I like the fact when coaches or student athletes or even pros come out of a region that isn’t always accustomed to success or even the expectation. It is far from easy to Expect Expectations sometimes sans an agenda.

smy34

October 15th, 2013
7:39 am

The Paulding County High School has had a great influence on educators in general. We many returning to teacher and adminstration. The program had been successful in making young people successful even in the female side with high school coaches in basketball in many schools accros the state and nation. They have had one young lady coach college basketball and now is a head coach at Div II at ConverseCollege. There is one area that can be seen with these young men and women and that is the families that they come from and the great mentors they had at PCHS. Congrats

"THE CANNON RULES"

October 15th, 2013
8:09 am

@ TODD…

The missing school in your article is EAST PAULDING which opened in 1992…What has happened with the opening of the other schools is that the county demographics changed dramatically.

If you go back to the 2001 season you PAULDING COUNTY HIGH went 12 / 2 that year then followed up with two 8 / 3 seasons in 2002 & 2003…THEN the bottom fell out of the program and they have not won more than 4 games in any year since…going 2/8 in 2004, 3/7 in 2005, 1/9 in 2006, 3/8 in 2007 (due to a odd quirk in the Region structure they made the playoffs this year with a 3/7 record and got shutout by MLK 41/0), 3/7 in 2008, 4/6 in 2009, 1/9 in 2010, 2/8 in 2011, 1/9 in 2012 and are 2/8 this year!

Many problems have, at least in recent years, been associated with the program…including a school administration that didn’t care or support the football program, a very inactive booster club, and a lack of community support. Recently the school has been completely remodeled and has a totally new look, along with this the team with new coaches in place has shown signs of improvement.

All the PAULDING COUNTY teams compete in REGION 5AAAAA and you can see the balance that has been created with SOUTH PAULDING and NORTH PAULDING coming on strong in the last few years, EAST has had consistent winning years winning the REGION Title, having undefeated seasons and deep playoff runs.

The future looks very bright for football in PAULDING COUNTY!!!

TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

GO RAIDERS!!!! Currently # 3 in Region 5AAAAA at 5/1 !!!!!!!

JAB

October 15th, 2013
8:18 am

WOW! Very interesting facts about Paulding County Schools, but you know I wish Georgia would have mega schools like they have in California; schools that have more than 5,000 students. Think of the opportunities and the money that can be saved!!!

PCHS class of 1985

October 15th, 2013
9:00 am

i graduated in 1985 from paulding county with these fine two young men(well old men now)coach Hendrix and coach Arnold, could tell even back then that these were two men of character and good moral fiber,we’re pulling for you guy’s

xplayer

October 15th, 2013
9:05 am

someone is doing something right…

Theresa

October 15th, 2013
10:01 am

I live in Paulding County, my kids grew up here, playing rec sports, then school sports. It’s a great place to raise a family. It has changed much since 1981 when we moved here, but still a great place!! Now my grandkids are growing up here!

"THE CANNON RULES"

October 15th, 2013
10:17 am

@ Theresa…

Couldn’t agree more…Paulding County is a good place to raise a family…we moved here in 87 and both our kids went thru Paulding County schools…a Son at HIRAM and then our daughter at EAST PAULDING. Son played football at HIRAM and our daughter cheered with RURITAN PARKS teams.

TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

GO RAIDERS!!!! Currently # 3 in Region 5AAAAA at 5/1 !!!!!!!

bucfan

October 15th, 2013
10:28 am

@The Cannon Rules

Are you reconsidering your opinion of the E Paulding head coach now that they seem to have righted the ship? Or do you still think he needs to go? Just curious. Looking forward to the Bucs playing both North and East in a few weeks.

"THE CANNON RULES"

October 15th, 2013
11:04 am

@ bucfan…

I still have my VERY SERIOUS doubts as to his ability to even keep EAST at the level of play they were at much less take them to the next level…Still a lot of talk in the stands about how he caused the loss to NORTH in game one by playing the starting Senior QB as a PUNT RETURNER when there was NO ONE ready to step in for him.

The schedule benefited EAST while Mitchell (the QB) healed with WOODLAND / BARTOW, PAULDING COUNTY, NEW MANCHESTER, VILLA RICA & HIRAM along with a bye week…the offense struggled as the two back-up QB’s played and tried best they could. They still need a lot of practice and work before they are really game ready. Mitchell came back in the VILLA RICA GAME on pass plays and limited running with the other QB’s alternating and then played about the entire game last week against HIRAM.

EAST struggled against PAULDING COUNTY and could easily have lost this game winning 10/7, then had NEW MANCHESTER in “THE BONEYARD” in a game tougher than the score shows winning it by only 24/10…The Defense has shown good improvement but the “O” line has to find a way to better protect the QB.

So the answer to your question is…He’s here and we have to make the best of it for now, EAST has a good bunch of assistant coaches to help him and that shows. I am also looking forward to visiting the ALLATOONA facility,,,never been there and to EAST hosting SOUTH PAULDING in “THE BONEYARD”…Bottom line EAST HAS to win out and get some help!

TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

GO RAIDERS!!!! Currently # 3 in Region 5AAAAA at 5/1 !!!!!!!

Delta is always ready

October 15th, 2013
11:48 am

I’m sure the football is fine in Paulding (quite a few players in D1), but the county is crap. No jobs, poor roads, and worse education system. The housing market, once booming during height of the white flight, will take decades to reach early 2000s values. What an incestuous and nepotitious county! You’re never going to get anywhere unless your last name matches the names of streets. I cannot wait until I can hop on a Delta flight to anywhere and escape this sheet hole!

"THE CANNON RULES"

October 15th, 2013
12:24 pm

@ Delta is always ready…

WOW! Well you are certainly the “Poster Boy” for the Chamber of Commerce…But I think you missed the point of this blog it’s about FOOTBALL…HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL!! While I am in no way the BLOG POLICE please keep your comments in future post related to football ONLY!

TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

GO RAIDERS!!!! Currently # 3 in Region 5AAAAA at 5/1 !!!!!!!

OLDTIME RAIDER

October 15th, 2013
12:32 pm

EAST COULD HAVE HAD JON LINDSEY AND BOOSTERS VOTED FOR HIM BUT THE ADMIN. AT EAST AT THE TIME WAS OUTGOING AND LOOKING FOR A COACHING JOB SO HE HIRED HIS BUDDIE AS THE HEAD COACH HOPING FOR AN ASST.POSITION.THAT DOOR WAS SHUT BY THE NEW ADMIN. AT EAST ,SO HE WENT TO HIS OTHER BUDDIE AT NORTH PAULDING AND GOT A ASST.POSITION THERE

Raiderbeater

October 15th, 2013
12:34 pm

Poor roads? Huh? What roads are you talking about? Did you move here from downtown ATL with your kid in a private school prior? The education system is on par with all the places around it.

OpportunityAt5kStudentSchools?

October 15th, 2013
12:43 pm

Noticed JAB’s comment about opportunity at huge California schools with 5,000+ students. A football team in a smaller school actually affords MORE kids opportunity to play. The size of the football team is fairly consistent, but in a larger school a much smaller percentage of the student body gets to participate…only the ’super athletes’–but late bloomers and kids who might at present be marginal, but could become good players are never given the chance. Same applies to band, other sports, and student organizations in general. I’m VERY glad that I didn’t go to a mega-school. My athletic career was limited to a year on the third string of the freshman basketball team, but I learned some great lessons that year for life. In a larger school, I would have been cut before the first game.

OLDTIME RAIDER

October 15th, 2013
12:56 pm

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION LIKES IT THIS WAY CAUSE NOT 1 TEAM IN THE COUNTY IS OVERLY DOMINATING THE OTHERS.THE BOOSTERS AT ALL SCHOOLS SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE ON THE COACH.THEY PUT THE MONEY TIME AND EFFORT IN IT NOT THE B.O.E……BUT IM SURE SOME OF THE BOARD MEMBERS HAD KIDS GOING TO OTHER SCHOOLS THAT EAST BEAT FOR YEARS AND DECIDED TO USE THEIR POWER TO HIRE A MEDIOCRE COACH SO EAST WOULD BE EQUAL………NO WINNERS AND LOSERS ANYMORE IN AMERICA EVERONE GETS A TROPHY………….MAKES ME PUKE

raiderfan...FOR LIFE!

October 15th, 2013
1:09 pm

@Delta is always ready, hwy 278 leads out of PC in both directions you are always welcome to hit it

OLDTIME RAIDER

October 15th, 2013
1:11 pm

@DELTA CAN USE HWY 92 ALSO

"THE CANNON RULES"

October 15th, 2013
1:48 pm

@ OLDTIME RAIDER…

First…Please turn off your CAPS LOCK as blogging in ALL CAPS means you are shouting and is considered rude.

You are correct about Lindsey but that is now “water under the bridge” and has been discussed and rehashed to death! Nothing we can do about that now! The B.O.E. has never liked EAST or the success they have had on the field and in fund raising capabilities! Let’s see what happens now that NORTH and SOUTH are becoming VERY competitive as well, this could be interesting.

TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

GO RAIDERS!!!! Currently # 3 in Region 5AAAAA at 5/1 !!!!!!!

[...] Read more on the Paulding County graduates who are now Georgia high school football head coaches in … [...]

OLDTIME RAIDER

October 15th, 2013
1:54 pm

I DO IT BECAUSE OF A VISION PROBLEM,BUT THANKS

smy34

October 15th, 2013
2:12 pm

I am sorry but I read the article concerning the coaches that came from PCHS. No need to discuss who won, what coach, this and that. Just know it is great that they have moved on to great positions. Their is alway someone at a meeting much less a blog that moves to another subject….

Class of 73

October 15th, 2013
4:40 pm

This is an unexpectedly happy article for me. I was a member of the first freshman class of PCHS in the fall of 1969. I can verify that a lot of people worked hard and suffered to get that football program going. We were 2 – 37 -1 during the first four years. I can’t complain, I was just a trombone player.

Katie

October 15th, 2013
8:12 pm

Don’t forget Jeffrey Sloan graduated in 2001 and coaches at South Paulding High School.

Big Al Davis

October 15th, 2013
8:34 pm

No disrespect to Ms. Katie but the Article and what the
Topic is about is Head Coaches that graduated from
Paulding County Highschool not Asst. coaches
I’m sure their are many dads that work their way on to
Staffs as community coschesso they can play daddy ball .
Matter of fact South Paulding has one that even gets to wear
Head phones on the sidelines on Friday night
And pretend to coach DB’s . Hiram also plays to the daddy ball
The starting QB’s dad is also a community coach
And walks the Friday night sidelines calling plays.
Pathetic come on Head coaches really ? Daddy’s
Helping coach , times are not that bad , grow a pair and
Tell um no and join the booster club .

Big Al Davis

October 16th, 2013
12:24 am

Oh ya Todd, East Paulding is a Highschool in Paulding County, Nice
move leaving it out of your article, lol
Great story though on the Coaches.

bucfan

October 16th, 2013
6:59 am

@ The Cannon Rules
Looking forward to playing East and North at Allatoona, think you’ll like the atmosphere we bring a big loud crowd in. Those should be really good games. I really like the rivalries that are developing in this region, specially between East/Allatoona and South/Allatoona. Unfortunately from what i understand both North and South will be moving up to AAAAAA next season, leaving Allatoona/East as the powers and New Manchester on the rise too. I’m wondering if somehow we get Kell in this region but not sure how that works…been saying it all year, but the Bucs have some very good years ahead of them as they are young this year, but some serious upcoming talent.

BUCKEYE

October 16th, 2013
7:02 am

How bout them Buckeyes!

Old Patriot

October 16th, 2013
7:49 am

I am a ‘87 graduate of PCHS… Its know several of these coaches and its great to see them having success. Is it just me or does Big Al seem to be a little bitter about the dads being community coaches. His son must have been one that got put on the bench as a result of some good ole daddy ball. Being a high school football coach is a huge commitment… Much respect to all those who put in the amount of time these guys do. There will always be those parents (haters) who take their shots but its all good.

"THE CANNON RULES"

October 16th, 2013
8:32 am

@ bucfan…

Where did you get your info on NORTH and SOUTH moving to AAAAAA?

TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

GO RAIDERS!!!! Currently # 3 in Region 5AAAAA at 5/1 !!!!!!!

Big Al Davis

October 16th, 2013
11:55 am

Old Patriot Spartian ,
Lol, you are right, I have the upmost respect for real legit teachers / Highschool
Coaches but not so much for wanna be Highschool Harry’s that
Weasel their way into the Highschool programs to help coach
Their own kids at the expense of the rest of the team.
Shame on the Head Coaches for letting that happen.
BTW I have daughters that are married and where never
Big enough to play football ! Lol

Old Patriot

October 16th, 2013
12:18 pm

@ Big Al Davis…

Lets dont forget that lots of your high school coaches have sons that come through the program… I guess they are daddy ballers then. There are plenty of dads out there qualified to coach at the high school level… The only shame is when the head coaches allow the daddy ball to happen. Since you had daughters that never played, that explains your infinite wisdom on the subject. Lol

Big Al Davis

October 16th, 2013
3:32 pm

You are correct, Real Highschool coaches that have a degree and teach.
Not daddy’s with an agenda to get there son playing time.
Btw I played D1 College Football 4 yrs so I’d say I have a little knowledge
about the game. Lol

WolfPack Nation

October 16th, 2013
11:14 pm

As of now North will be moving up to the big dogs of AAAAAA next year! Sad part is that its going to be a rebuilding year at North for the next 2 years and then they will be able to beat anyone in the state. The younger kids in the feeder program have won their state title 2 years in a row now. They will do big things in a couple years.

THE CANNON RULES, its North’s population thats making us move up

Raiderbeater

October 17th, 2013
1:52 pm

The biggest reason for Paulding County’s lack of overall success on the football field can, in my opinion, be directly linked to sharing a county border with McEachern High School for around 35 years. We knew several athletes that transferred throughout the years and many more that’s families moved just to allow them to live in the jurisdiction. During that time McEachern was the on and off #1 team in the state for many years. Why not drive the extra 5 minutes there?

Raiderbeater

October 17th, 2013
2:02 pm

At the Point just prior to the boom in high schools opening the football team began playing well. Going 12-2 in 2001/2. The Year prior Hiram High School had opened…taking almost all their players from Paulding County High and completing a 7-3 varsity season themselves with their first full class. Almost all having been from PCHS. Then each class since from PCHS has had large portions of students chipped off of them in the fastest growing areas, first Hiram, then South Paulding, then North Paulding.

Raiderbeater

October 17th, 2013
2:07 pm

That 2002 team would have been amazing if it didn’t loose half it’s athletes to Hiram that previous year. Truly amazing.

Big Al Davis

October 17th, 2013
8:48 pm

Raider Wish I could Beat .
If ” if and but’s were candy and nuts we’d all
have a merry Christmas ! “Dwelling in the past
Never gets you to the future”
Bear Bryant

[...] Cradle of coaches: Six Paulding County grads are Georgia head football coaches ”I would not say there was anything specifically about Paulding County High School that led to seven of us coaching, but I can tell you the coaches and the administration when I was there made a great influence on my life and career choice. Football … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]