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Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Coaching hires: Mill Creek promotes Lovelady; Georgia dips into Florida

Mill Creek promoted offensive line coach Josh Lovelady to head coach this week to replace Shannon Jarvis, who stepped down but will remain at the school and become athletics director next academic year.

Lovelady has been on the coaching staff since Mill Creek’s inception in 2007. Mill Creek reached the state semifinals in the highest classification in 2015 and 2016. Mill Creek was 8-4 last season.

Lovelady and Jarvis were on the staff at South Gwinnett under T. McFerrin when former Georgia quarterback David Greene played for the Comets. South Gwinnett is Lovelady’s alma mater.

Two Florida coaches headed to Florida

Georgia is known for paying its high school football coaches well. Florida is not. A couple of recent hires bore that out, again.

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Cook High, a south Georgia program that’s perennially good but hasn’t won a state title since 1949, has hired Jamie Rodgers, who was 29-9 at Baker County High and was Florida Class 5A coach of the year twice in the past three seasons. Rodgers’ teams were 31-15 in four seasons prior at Suwannee High. Rodgers will replace Bobby Jones, who remains at Cook.

Meanwhile, Palm Beach Central head coach Tino Ierulli resigned last week and told his team that he’s coming to Georgia, though he didn’t name the school. Georgia sources indicated his landing spot will be Shiloh in Gwinnett County to replace Ryan Andrews.

Ierulli’s teams were 33-24 over five years (11-2 in 2018) and won three district titles. Ierulli was candid about his motivation, noting that Georgia pays much higher than does Florida, both in its stipends to coaches and booster-club supplements.

“[Georgia’s pay scale] blows Florida’s out of the water,” Ierulli told the South Florida SunSentinel. “It’s ridiculous. For any teacher to stay in Florida when they have the opportunity to go to Georgia, I just don’t understand.”

Wheeler coach takes River Ridge job

River Ridge in Cherokee County has hired Wheeler coach Mike Collins to replace Tyler Wynn. Collins, a county native and alumnus of Cherokee High, has a record of 69-79 in 15 seasons at Chamblee, Pebblebrook and Wheeler, schools that faced rebuilding jobs when Collins arrived. River Ridge has reached the playoffs only once, with a 5-6 finish in 2012, since it opened in 2009. The Knights were 1-9 last season. Collins was on Cherokee High’s staff during region-championship seasons in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Report: Forest Park coach heads to Mississippi

Forest Park coach Martez Edwards will take the head-coaching job in Meridian High in Mississippi, according to TV reports in that state. Forest Park, one of the tougher jobs in metro Atlanta, was 5-15 the past two seasons under Edwards, who had gone 30-18 at his previous stop in Bessemer City, Ala.

Fayette County hires Spalding coach

Fayette County has hired Spalding coach Nick Davis to replace Mike Davis. Davis led Spalding to the Class AAAA quarterfinals in 2016, though his teams had fallen off the past two campaigns and finished 3-7 last year. Fayette County hasn’t had a winning season since 2007 and was 0-10 last season. Mike Davis has joined Ware County’s staff. 

Jackson County hires Illinois coach

East Jackson, searching for its first winning season in 10 seasons, has hired Cameron Pettus of Bellville West in Illinois to replace Scott Wilkins. Pettus, a Paulding County graduate, had a 45-35 record at Belleville West, which was 7-3 last season. East Jackson is 9-61 over the past seven seasons. 

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