There probably have never been more high-profile coaching jobs to come open in one Georgia high school football offseason.
The latest has come at Cedar Grove, the reigning Class AAA champion. Jimmy Smith, whose six-season record at the DeKalb County school was 67-14-1, is now an assistant coach on the staff of Georgia State. He made that move official last week.
‘’It’s the year for the legends to retire, move to college or look for greener pastures,’’ said Ahmand Tinker, the executive director of the Georgia Minority Coaches Association. Tinker has tracked coaching changes for years and can’t recall anything quite like this.
‘’It's amazing to see so many major programs/jobs open up in the same year,’’ he said. “It's almost unheard of in the state of Georgia to see that.’’
Calhoun’s Hal Lamb (238-52 all-time record) and Clinch County’s Jim Dickerson (152-44-1), with eight state titles between them, have retired. Clinch is the defending Class A public-school champion.
Clay Stephenson was promoted to replace Lamb. Don Tison Jr. was promoted to replace Dickerson.
Cartersville’s Joey King is another who is off to the college ranks. He’s now an assistant coach at Coastal Carolina. King was 67-4 in six seasons and won state titles with Trevor Lawrence as his quarterback in 2015 and 2016. Defensive coordinator Conor Foster has taken King’s place.
Buford, Georgia’s most successful program this century, has hired its defensive coordinator, Bryant Appling, to replace John Ford, the former Roswell coach whose 21-5 record over two seasons paled only when compared to the school’s history of 10 state titles since 2000.
Grayson also parted ways with a coach with a similar record, 20-5. That would be Christian Hunnicutt, whose Rams went out in the quarterfinals last season. Grayson, which won state titles in 2011 and 2016, hired Adam Carter from Creekview in Cherokee County. Hunnicutt landed at Villa Rica, where he is head coach.
McEachern, the school with more alumni in college football (58) last season than any other in Georgia, is still looking for a replacement for Kyle Hockman, who took a job as head coach of New Hampstead outside of Savannah. Hockman was 103-32 in his 11 seasons at McEachern.
Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley also is on the move, taking a job at New Manchester in Douglas County. Whitley had led Stockbridge to five region titles and 11-win seasons or better each of the past seven years. Stockbridge promoted Steve Boyd to replace him.
Rabun County’s Lee Shaw retired in December, giving way to his son, Jaybo Shaw, a former star quarterback for him at Flowery Branch and more recently the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Lee Shaw was 70-17 at Rabun County and 79-41 at Flowery Branch and won six region titles.
Charlton County’s Rich McWhorter, who has won 288 games and five state titles since 1990 at his south Georgia school, has headed north. He’s the new head coach at Jackson County. Charlton promoted Russ Murray to replace him.
Another major job that might open is that at Colquitt County, where Rush Propst remains on paid leave amid an internal school-board investigation. Colquitt has been Georgia’s most successful program in the highest classification and won state titles in 2015 and 2016.
Bobby McAllister, executive director of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, says the high-profile changes are interesting, but not inexplicable.
‘’Grayson and Buford are changing just about every year now,’’ said McAllister, noting that those two state powers have had five head coaches between them since 2016 after years of stability. “The others were retirements and going to coach in college. There still may be a big one in South Georgia to open any day. Just unusual this year.’’
And that makes it even more fun to be a job-seeker or just a spectator who likes to follow the news.
‘’Coaches are always interested in what is going on,’’ he said. “And if they see that a good job is available, they will get all the information they can and then may pursue. The majority of coaches are always on the lookout for other jobs.’’
And there have been plenty. More than 70 jobs have been reported as open since the season ended in December. Those totals are not unusual in recent years and will continue to climb. Here is a list of those reported:
Alcovy - Former coach: Chris Edgar. New coach: Jason Duke
Americus-Sumter - Former coach: Larry Harold. New coach: Open
Bacon County - Former coach: Kyle Langford. New coach: Keith Gosse
Banneker - Former coach: Mario Allen. New coach: Lou George
Bradwell Institute - Former coach: Ross Couch. New coach: Kyle Adkins
Buford - Former coach: John Ford. New coach: Bryant Appling
Calhoun - Former coach: Hal Lamb. New coach: Clay Stephenson
Campbell - Former coach: Kyle Adkins. New coach: Open
Cartersville - Former coach: Joey King. New coach: Conor Foster
Cedar Grove - Former coach: Jimmy Smith. New coach: Open
Centennial - Former coach: Michael Perry. New coach: Shane Sams
Chamblee - Former coach: Curtis Mattair. New coach: Scott Schwarzer
Charles Drew - Former coach: D.Lyles. New coach: Steve Robinson
Charlton County - Former coach: Rich McWhorter. New coach: Russ Murray
Clinch County - Former coach: Jim Dickerson. New coach: Don Tison Jr.
Cook - Former coach: Bobby Jones. New coach: Jimmy Rodgers
Creekview - Former coach: Adam Carter. New coach: Open
Cross Keys - Former coach: Mike Adams. New coach: Open
Dooly County - Former coach: Corey Jarvis. New coach: Open
Dougherty - Former coach: Damien Gary. New coach: Johnny Gilbert
Duluth - Former coach: Bob Swank. New coach: Open
East Hall - Former coach: Scott Patrick. New coach: Michael Perry
East Jackson - Former coach: Scott Wilikins. New coach: Cameron Pettus
Elbert County - Former coach: Sid Fritts. New coach: Brad Waggoner
Fayette County - Former coach: Mike Davis. New coach: Nick Davis
Forest Park - Former coach: Martez Edwards. New coach: Gerren Griffin
George Walton Academy - Former coach: Don Williams. New coach: Shane Davis
Gilmer - Former coach: Casey Wingard. New coach: Kevin Saunders
Gordon Central - Former coach: Corey Nix. New coach: TJ Hamilton
Grayson - Former coach: Christian Hunnicutt. New coach: Adam Carter
Greenville - Former coach: Vex Farley. New coach: Tyler Wynn
Griffin - Former coach: Antoino Andrews. New coach: Open
Groves - Former coach: Michael Martin. New coach: Open
Jackson County - Former coach: Brandon Worley. New coach: Rich McWhorter
Jenkins County - Former coach: Charley Waters. New coach: David Johnson
Johnson-Ganesville - Former coach: Jason Roquermore. New coach: Open
Josey - Former coach: Marcus Jackson. New coach: John Starr II
Lamar County - Former coach: John Flath. New coach: Jeffrey Sloan
Landmark Christian - Former coach: Joe Scott. New coach: Mike Sherrard
Laney - Former coach: Rodney McFadden. New coach: Rashad Dunn
Langston Hughes - Former coach: Willie Cannon. New coach: Daniel Williams
Lassister - Former coach: Jep Irwin. New coach: Sean Thom
Lithia Springs - Former coach: Kevin Hill. New coach: Corey Jarvis
Lithonia - Former coach: Dave Edwards. New coach: Marcus Jelks (interim)
Henry County - Former coach: Mo Starr. New coach: Eric Solomon
McEachern - Former coach: Kyle Hoffman. New coach: Open
Mill Creek - Former coach: Shannon Jarvis. New coach: Josh Lovelady
Model - Former coach: Gordon Powers. New coach: Open
New Hampstead - Former coach: Thomas Tedder. New coach: Kyle Hoffman
New Manchester - Former coach: Myron Terry. New coach: Kevin Whitley
Newton - Former coach: Terrence Banks. New coach: Camiel Grant
Pacelli - Former coach: Mark LeGree. New coach: Dwight Jones
Pebblebrook - Former coach: Kevin Saunders. New coach: Leroy Hood
Pickens - Former coach: Chris Parker. New coach: Jeff Nelson
Rabun County - Former coach: Lee Shaw. New coach: Jaybo Shaw
Randolph Clay - Former coach: Harvey Smith. New coach: Open
Ridgeland - Former coach: Cortney Braswell. New coach: Open
River Ridge - Former coach: Tyler Wynn. New coach: Mike Collins
Rutland - Former coach: Mark Daniel. New coach: Rusty Easom
Shiloh - Former coach: Ryan Andrews. New coach: Tino Lerulli
South Effingham - Former coach: Donnie Revell . New coach: Nathan Clark
Spalding - Former coach: Nick Davis . New coach: Jeff Hammonds
Spencer - Former coach: Justin Newman. New coach: Robert Sanders
Stockbridge - Former coach: Kevin Whitley. New coach: Steve Boyd
Stone Mountain - Former coach: James Collier. New coach: James Lal
Towns County - Former coach: John Cornett. New coach: Jason Roquermore
Turner County - Former coach: Leroy Hood. New coach: Open
Villa Rica - Former coach: Rico Zachery. New coach: Christian Hunnicutt
Washington-Willes - Former coach: Chad Alligood . New coach: TC Jay
Westside-Augusta - Former coach: Scott Tate . New coach: John Wiley
Wheeler - Former coach: Mike Collins. New coach: Bryan Love
Windsor Forest - Former coach: Gregg Busby. New coach: Ike Ferrell
Woodland-Stockbridge - Former coach: Bryan Love. New coach: Antoino Andrews
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