Buford coach John Ford greets lineman Reece McIntyre (56) before their Class AAAAA quarterfinals against Bainbridge at Buford High School Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.  
Photo: Jason Getz/For the AJC
Photo: Jason Getz/For the AJC

Five of Georgia’s highest-paid football coaches are changing jobs

Five of Georgia’s 10 highest-paid football coaches won’t be returning to their old jobs next season. Two were forced out, two got better jobs, and one retired.

The five are Rush Propst of Colquitt County ($141,870), Franklin Stephens of Ware County ($128,226), John Ford of Buford ($123,761), Joey King of Cartersville ($123,252) and Lee Shaw of Rabun County ($119,443). 

The salary data comes from First Coat News, a Jacksonville media organization that has researched the figures for the past four years. It found 44 Georgia head football coaches with salaries over $100,000 this academic year, about twice the number from 2014-15. The research does not include salaries for private-school coaches, as those records are not public. 

Propst, the highest-paid coach in Georgia, was fired by the Colquitt County Board of Education last week after an investigation alleged improper conduct that included giving out over-the-counter medication to players despite warnings against it and losing control of the team. Propst had led Colquitt County to the semifinals or better in the highest classification nine of the past 10 seasons and won state titles with undefeated teams in 2014 and 2015. 

Stephens, the third-highest paid, is expected to be named McEachern’s head coach later this week. It’s unclear if Stephens will get a raise. McEachern’s former coach, Kyle Hockman, didn’t appear on First Coast’s list. Hockman took a job as head coach at New Manchester outside of Savannah. 

Ford was Buford’s head coach for two seasons but stepped down amid pressure despite a 21-5 record over two seasons. He has not be hired elsewhere. Buford has promoted defensive coordinator Bryant Appling. 

King left Cartersville to take a college job on the staff of Coastal Carolina. King was 67-4 in five seasons and won state titles in 2015 and 2016. Cartersville has promoted defensive coordinator Conor Foster. 

Shaw retired at Rabun County, which promoted his son, offensive coordinator Jaybo Shaw. 

First Coast News also reported that six of the 44 coaches were among the two highest-paid employees in their school systems, and that 12 previously coached in Florida, which pays less because of restrictions on supplemental coaching benefits. Those would include Dean Fabrizio of Class AAAAAA champion Lee County, Robby Pruitt of Coffee and Randy McPherson of Lowndes.

Several others, such as Propst (from Alabama), John Reid of Rome (from Tennessee), Bob Sphire of Camden County (from Kentucky), Richard Morgan of Marietta (from Virginia) and Ken Cribb of Wayne County (from South Carolina) were successful coaches hired from other states. 

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