South Paulding High School football players warm up before the game against Allatoona High School in Acworth.
Photo: Branden Camp/For the AJC
Photo: Branden Camp/For the AJC

43 Football coaching changes: South Paulding, Cedartown latest to make hires

The number of high school football teams that has looked for new head coaches this off-season stands at 43, probably less than half of where it’s headed. There were 102 at GHSA schools during the 2019 off-season.

South Paulding and Cedartown have made recent hires.

South Paulding promoted defensive coordinator Jason Nash to replace Jason Thompson, who took the Central Gwinnett job. 

Nash was the defensive coordinator at Grayson in 2018. He was on Colquitt County’s staff in 2017. South Paulding had a breakthrough season in 2019, going 9-3 after finishing 2-8 the previous season.

Spalding coach Jeff Hammond is returning to south Georgia to become Coffee’s offensive coordinator. Hammond had been the offensive coordinator at Colquitt County for two stints totaling eight seasons before taking the Spalding job last year. Spalding finished 1-9.

Cedartown hired McEachern defensive coordinator Jamie Abrams to replace Doyle Kelley. Abrams was a head coach at Lamar County for two seasons. His record there was 15-7-1. He’s been on staffs at Ware County, East Paulding and South Paulding. Cedartown was 20-14 in three seasons under Kelley, 5-6 in 2019.

Class A public-school champion Irwin County’s new coach will be Casey Soliday, the interim head coach last season. The team’s head coach, Buddy Nobles, passed away last week after a months-long battle with stomach cancer. Nobles was the Class A coach of the year.

The most prominent coaching job that’s open is probably Hillgrove’s. That’s a Class AAAAAAA school in Cobb County. Former coach Phillip Ironside left for Worth County in south Georgia. Ironside started the program in 2006 and won four region titles. 

Three Forsyth County jobs, all in the highest classification, remain open. They are Denmark, West Forsyth and Lambert.


Alpharetta - Former coach: Jacob Nichols. New coach: Open

Cedartown - Former coach: Doyle Kelley. New coach: Jamie Abrams

Central Gwinnett - Former coach: Todd Wofford. New coach: Jason Thompson

Chattahoochee County - Former coach: Jody Allen. New coach: Pierre Coffey

Chattooga - Former coach: Charles Hammon. New coach: Open

Coahulla Creek - Former coach: Caleb Bagley. New coach: Danny Wilson 

Coosa - Former coach: Todd Wheeler. New coach: Joey Mathis

Denmark - Former coach: Terry Crowder. New coach: Open

Dooly County - Former coach: Ashley Harden. New coach: Phillip Hale

Druid Hills - Former coach: Rosaria Rice. New coach: Open

Forest Park - Former coach: Gerren Griffin. New coach: Open

Hillgrove - Former coach: Phillip Ironside. New coach: Open

Irwin County - Former coach: Buddy Nobles. New coach: Casey Soliday

King’s Ridge Christian - Former coach: Jeff Pickren. New coach: Terry Crowder

KIPP Atlanta Collegiate - Former coach: James Briscoe. New coach: Coy Brown

LaGrange - Former coach: Chuck Gibbs. New coach: Matt Napier

Lambert - Former coach: Louis Daniel. New coach: Open

Lincoln County - Former coach: Michael Pollock. New coach: Lee Chomskis

Lowndes - Former coach: Randy McPherson. New coach: Jamie Dubose

Luella - Former coach: Jason Jackson. New coach: Open

Manchester - Former coach: Evan Hochstetler. New coach: Open

Mount Zion-Jonesboro - Former coach: Kevin Jones. New coach: Open

Northside-Columbus - Former coach: Dave Nurnberg. New coach: Andrew Oropeza

Northside-Warner Robins - Former coach: Kevin Kinsler. New coach: Chad Alligood

Providence Christian - Former coach: Parker Conley. New coach: Open

Redan - Former coach: Rahman Sparks. New coach: Open

Savannah - Former coach: Rebel Green. New coach: Open

Social Circle - Former coach: Chad Estes. New coach: Open

South Paulding - Former coach: Jason Thompson. New coach: Jason Nash

Southeast Whitfield - Former coach: Sean Gray. New coach: Open

Spalding - Former coach: Jeff Hammond. New coach: Open

Tatnall County - Former coach: Nick Tatum. New coach: Ike Ferrell

Tri-Cites - Former coach: Terrence Banks. New coach: Open

Turner County - Former coach: Nick Hayes. New coach: Kevious Johnson

Union Grove - Former coach: Chad Frazier. New coach: Casey Smith

Vidalia - Former coach: Lee Chomskis. New coach: Open

Walker - Former coach: Matt Casper. New coach: Open

West Forsyth - Former coach: Shawn Cahill. New coach: Open

Wheeler County - Former coach: Timothy McArthur. New coach: Thomas Smith

Whitewater - Former coach: Bryan Holley. New coach: Chad Frazier 

Wilkinson County - Former coach: Keldrick Burke. New coach: Open

Windsor Forest - Former coach: Issac Ferrell. New coach: Open

Worth County - Former coach: Frankie Carroll. New coach: Phillip Ironside

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