Football coaching changes: New hires at Ware, Model, Campbell, SCD

Ware County, which lost head coach Franklin Stephens to McEachern last month, has found a replacement.

The Gators’ new coach will be Jason Strickland, most recently at Pierce County, where he led the Bears to a 13-1 finish in Class AAA last season. 

A native of Clinch County, Strickland also led Fitzgerald to 13-2 records and Class AA runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2016 and led Lamar County to a 12-1 record in 2011. Strickland’s record is 99-39-1 with four region titles in 12 seasons.

Ware County, 43-18 in five years under Stephens, was 8-4 last season.

The number of schools with reported coaching changes this off-season is now 83. 

Below are a few of the more recent ones and a list of each.

Former Milton coach now at Campbell

Howie DeCristofaro, who put Milton on good standing before being forced out after the 2016 season, is the new head coach at Campbell in Smyrna. DeCristofaro led Milton to its first region title in history in 2014 with future NFL players Peyton Barber and Carl Lawson. He was let go after a 5-5 finish in 2016, and Milton won its first state title in 2018. DeCristofaro was a head coach in Florida for 12 years before coming to Georgia. He had been Etowah’s defensive coordinator. DeCristofaro replaces Kyle Adkins, who got the Bradwell Institute head coaching job.

Another South Fulton coach has stepped down

Tri-Cities coach Innis Claud has stepped down but will remain at the school as a teacher. Claud’s decision means that four of the five south Fulton County schools – Westlake, Banneker, Hughes and Tri-Cities – will have new coaches. Westlake, which has won four straight region titles in the highest class, lost Kareem Reid to Griffin and hasn’t named a replacement. Hughes promoted defensive assistant Daniel Williams to replace Willie Cannon, who retired. Banneker hired Westlake strength coach Lou George to replace Mario Allen at Banneker. Only Creekside’s Maurice Dixon, who led the Seminoles to an 8-4 finish after going 0-10 in 2017, remains in place.

Hodges retires at Dodge County

Rex Hodges has retired at Dodge County. His teams had won 10 games three of the past four seasons with region titles in 2015 and 2017. He also coached at Bacon County and Toombs County. No replacement has been named. Other retiring coaches this off-season include Calhoun’s Hal Lamb, Clinch County’s Jim Dickerson, Elbert County’s Sid Fritts and Rabun County’s Lee Shaw.

Savannah Country Day hires Westminster assistant

Dennis Coyle resigned as Savannah Country Day’s head coach last month to take the same position at Cincinnati Country Day. His replacement will be Jim Collis, the offensive coordinator at Westminster. Collis was on the staff for Westminster’s 2015 state championship team. Collis won a state title as a head coach at Columbus Academy in Ohio in 2005.

Cartersville assistant gets Model job

Cartersville inside linebackers coach Jeff Hunnicutt got the Model head coaching job last week. He’s the son of Lynn Hunnicutt, a long-time head coach in northwest Georgia who won a state title at Pepperell in 1990 and finished his career at Model in 2011. 

Off-season coaching changes:

Alcovy -- New coach: Jason Duke … Former coach: Chris Edgar

Americus-Sumter -- New coach: Ross Couch … Former coach: Larry Harold

Bacon County -- New coach: Keith Gosse … Former coach: Kyle Langford

Banneker -- New coach: Lou George … Former coach: Mario Allen

Bradwell Institute -- New coach: Kyle Adkins … Former coach: Ross Couch

Buford -- New coach: Bryant Appling … Former coach: John Ford

Calhoun -- New coach: Clay Stephenson … Former coach: Hal Lamb

Campbell -- New coach: Howie DeCristofaro … Former coach: Kyle Adkins

Cartersville -- New coach: Conor Foster … Former coach: Joey King

Cedar Grove -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Jimmy Smith

Centennial -- New coach: Shane Sams … Former coach: Michael Perry

Chamblee -- New coach: Scott Schwarzer … Former coach: Curtis Mattair

Charles Drew -- New coach: Steve Robinson … Former coach: Dorwyn Lyles

Charlton County -- New coach: Russ Murray … Former coach: Rich McWhorter

Clinch County -- New coach: Don Tison … Former coach: Jim Dickerson

Colquitt County -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Rush Propst

Cook -- New coach: Jimmy Rodgers … Former coach: Bobby Jones

Creekview -- New coach: Trevor Williams … Former coach: Adam Carter

Cross Keys -- New coach: Open … Former coach: 

Dodge County -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Rex Hodges

Dooly County -- New coach: Ashley Harden … Former coach: Corey Jarvis

Dougherty -- New coach: Johnny Gilbert … Former coach: Damien Gary

Duluth -- New coach: Cam Jones … Former coach: Bob Swank

East Hall -- New coach: Michael Perry … Former coach: Scott Patrick

East Jackson -- New coach: Cameron Pettus … Former coach: Scott Wilikins

Elbert County -- New coach: Brad Waggoner … Former coach: Sid Fritts

Fayette County -- New coach: Nick Davis … Former coach: Mike Davis

Forest Park -- New coach: Gerren Griffin … Former coach: Martez Edwards

George Walton Academy -- New coach: Shane Davis … Former coach: Don Williams

Gilmer -- New coach: Kevin Saunders … Former coach: Casey Wingard

Gordon Central -- New coach: T.J. Hamilton … Former coach: Corey Nix

Grayson -- New coach: Adam Carter … Former coach: Christian Hunnicutt

Greenville -- New coach: Tyler Wynn … Former coach: Vex Farley

Griffin -- New coach: Kareem Reid … Former coach: Antoino Andrews

Groves -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Michael Martin

Hawkinsville -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Will Connor

Jackson County -- New coach: Rich McWhorter … Former coach: Brandon Worley

Jenkins County -- New coach: David Johnson … Former coach: Charley Waters

Johnson-Ganesville -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Jason Roquermore

Josey -- New coach: John Starr II … Former coach: Marcus Jackson

Lamar County -- New coach: Jeffrey Sloan … Former coach: John Flath

Landmark Christian -- New coach: Mike Sherrard … Former coach: Joe Scott

Laney -- New coach: Rashad Dunn … Former coach: Rodney McFadden

Langston Hughes -- New coach: Daniel Williams … Former coach: Wille Cannon

Lassister -- New coach: Sean Thom … Former coach: Jep Irwin

Lithia Springs -- New coach: Corey Jarvis … Former coach: Kevin Hill

Lithonia -- New coach: Marcus Jelks Interim … Former coach: Dave Edwards

McDonough -- New coach: Eric Solomon … Former coach: Mo Starr

McEachern -- New coach: Frank Stephens … Former coach: Kyle Hoffman

Mill Creek -- New coach: Josh Lovelady … Former coach: Shannon Jarvis

Model -- New coach: Jeff Hunnicutt … Former coach: Gordon Powers

New Hampstead -- New coach: Kyle Hockman … Former coach: Thomas Tedder

New Manchester -- New coach: Kevin Whitley … Former coach: Myron Terry

Newton -- New coach: Camiel Grant … Former coach: Terrence Banks

Pacelli -- New coach: Dwight Jones … Former coach: Mark LeGree

Pebblebrook -- New coach: Leroy Hood … Former coach: Kevin Saunders

Pickens -- New coach: Jeff Nelson … Former coach: Chris Parker

Pierce County -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Jason Strickland

Rabun -- New coach: Jaybo Shaw … Former coach: Lee Shaw

Randolph Clay -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Harvey Smith

Ridgeland -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Cortney Braswell

River Ridge -- New coach: Mike Collins … Former coach: Tyler Wynn

Rutland -- New coach: Rusty Easom … Former coach: Mark Daniel

Savannah Country Day -- New coach: Jim Collis … Former coach: Dennis Coyle

Shiloh -- New coach: Tino Lerulli … Former coach: Ryan Andrews

South Effingham -- New coach: Nathan Clark … Former coach: Donnie Revell

Spalding -- New coach: Jeff Hammonds … Former coach: Nick Davis

Spencer -- New coach: Robert Sanders … Former coach: Justin Newman

Stewart County -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Ashley Harden

Stockbridge -- New coach: Steve Boyd … Former coach: Kevin Whitley

Stone Mountain -- New coach: James Lal … Former coach: James Collier

Terrell County -- New coach: Open … Former coach: William Huff

Towns County -- New coach: Jason Roquemore … Former coach: John Cornett

Tri-Cities -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Innis Claud

Turner County -- New coach: Nick Hayes … Former coach: Leroy Hood

Villa Rica -- New coach: Christian Hunnicutt … Former coach: Rico Zachery

Ware County -- New coach: Jason Strickland … Former coach: Frank Stephens

Washington-Willes -- New coach: T.C. Jay … Former coach: Chad Alligood

Westlake -- New coach: Open … Former coach: Kareem Reid

Westside -- New coach: John Wiley … Former coach: Scott Tate

Wheeler -- New coach: Bryan Love … Former coach: Mike Collins

Windsor Forest -- New coach: Ike Ferrell … Former coach: Gregg Busby

Woodland-Henry -- New coach: Antonio Andrews … Former coach: Bryan Love

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