Lovejoy, a football region champion the past four seasons and twice a state runner-up, has replaced 13-year head coach Al Hughes with his defense coordinator, Edgar Carson, Hughes confirmed on Monday.
Hughes said he will leave Lovejoy immediately and spend time helping his father, who is ill, in Jonesboro, where he grew up, and did not criticize the move of the school that employed him as head coach since 2001. Hughes’ record at Lovejoy was 104-48 overall, 47-6 the past four seasons and 10-2 in 2013.
‘’Lovejoy was good to me and I had a great career there,’’ Hughes said. “I enjoyed the young men that I worked with and have nothing but positives to say. I had intended to be there for a long time, but this opportunity is here now, and the good lord has a plan for me. I’ll follow his lead. Right now, that’s to be with my dad and help him. God willing, I’ll find my way back into coaching somewhere.’’
Other school officials could not be reached late Monday for comment.
Carson has been on Hughes’ staff the past three seasons. Lovejoy lost to Tucker 22-7 in the Class AAAA final in 2011 and to Norcross 21-14 in the AAAAAA final in 2012. Carson, who had been an assistant at Griffin prior to coming to Lovejoy, was defensive coordinator this past season and replaced Kevin “Bull” Jones, who is now Dutchtown’s head coach.
Hughes said the decision caught him off guard but wished Carson, whom he called ‘’a good friend,’’ the best luck.
‘’I was actually working in my office trying to do some things for recruiting and it was brought to my attention it was time for us to make a change,’’ Hughes said. “I’ve decided the best thing would be to step out of the way and go about my business.’’
Hughes said he could have remained as athletics director but declined. He said he didn’t have any accomplishment that stood out during his time at Lovejoy. He is Clayton County’s all-time most winning coach.
‘’To be honest, I don’t really feel as if I accomplished anything,’’ Hughes said. “I just feel very fortunate to be the one who sat in that seat. A great foundation was laid for me by (the previous head coach) C.W. Campbell and my brother (Steve Hughes), who was defensive coordinator, and I just had to feed the giant that they build and did the best I could to hang on. I had great kids and coaches and administrative support. It was a great ride. We had fun.”