New Hampstead in Savannah has hired former McEachern head coach Kyle Hockman (center), who compiled a record of 103-32 with five region championships in 11 seasons with the Indians.
Photo: Daniel Varnado/For the AJC
Photo: Daniel Varnado/For the AJC

New Hampstead’s Hockman among 17 new head coaches in Class AAAAA

Number of hires: 17

Best hire: Kyle Hockman, New Hampstead 

Hardest to replace: Kevin Whitley, Stockbridge 

Best job: Buford 

Toughest job: Cross Keys 

Most interesting: Buford forced out John Ford despite his 21-5 record, but given the Wolves' history - 10 state title appearance and seven championships in the 10 seasons prior to Ford coming over from Roswell - that wasn't shocking. More surprising was Mike Chastain's sudden departure from Warner Robins after leading the Demons to consecutive state finals. The Jones County job came open on a Monday, when previous coach Justin Rogers was named Colquitt County's coach. Chastain reportedly interviewed at Jones County two days later, was offered the position within hours, accepted, and was approved by the board of education that Friday. 

Region 1 

*Warner Robins promoted defensive coordinator Marquis Westbrook to replace Mike Chastain, who took the head coaching job at Jones County after leading the Demons to consecutive state title games. Westbrook, on Warner Robins' staff the past three seasons, previously worked at Veterans (2010-15) and Macon County (2008-09). A Crisp County graduate, Westbrook is a former college cornerback who played on Florida's 2000 SEC championship team. 

Region 2 

*New Hampstead hired McEachern head coach Kyle Hockman to replace Thomas Tedder, who is now defensive coordinator at Brunswick. Hockman's record at McEachern was 103-32 with five region titles. New Hampstead was 5-6 last season. After a 2-0 start, the Savannah school fired Michael Moore and replaced him with Tedder on an interim basis. 

*South Effingham hired Lee County offensive coordinator Nathan Clark to replace Donnie Revell, who retired. Clark, a Greensboro, N.C., native and University of Alabama graduate, has been on the coaching staffs for five state championship teams, two at Lee County (2017-18) and three at Peach County (2005-06, 2009). Revell's South Effingham teams were 34-62 overall, 2-8 in 2018. 

*Ware County hired Pierce County head coach Jason Strickland to replace Franklin Stephens, who took the head coaching job at McEachern. Strickland's record is 99-39-1 with four regions titles, at least one at each of his previous stops - Lamar County, Fitzgerald and Pierce County. Pierce's 13-1 semifinal team of 2018 achieved the school's best record and playoff advance in history. Ware was 43-18 in five seasons under Stephens, including 8-4 in 2018. 

Region 3 

*Fayette County hired Spalding head coach Nick Davis to replace Mike Davis, who is now on staff at Ware County. This will be Nick Davis's 20th season as a head coach. His teams at Spalding were 36-48-1. Fayette County was 10-62 under Mike Davis and has not had a winning season since going 11-1 in 2007 under Tommy Webb. 

*Griffin hired Westlake head coach Kareem Reid to replace Antonio Andrews, who took the head coaching job at Woodland in Stockbridge. Reid's record at Westlake was 27-10. His Lions reached the Class AAAAAA semifinals in 2016. Reid previously was head coach at Coconut Creek in Florida. His teams there were 16-14 without a losing season at a program that had gone 1-19 over the previous two campaigns. Reid, a native of south Florida, is a former defensive lineman at Central Florida. Griffin was 28-8 in three seasons under Andrews, an alumnus of the school, and was 8-4 in 2018. 

Region 4 

*Jones County hired Warner Robins head coach Mike Chastain to replace Justin Rogers, who took the head coaching job at Colquitt County. Chastain led Warner Robins to consecutive 14-1 seasons and state finals appearances after a 3-8 record in his first season. Chastain coached Dylan Fromm at Warner Robins and Jake Fromm as offensive coordinator at Houston County. Jones County was 45-15 in five seasons under Rogers. 

*Stockbridge promoted defensive coordinator Steve Boyd to replace Kevin Whitley, who took the head coaching job at New Manchester but eventually ended up on the staff at Georgia Southern. Boyd, on Stockbridge's staff the past two seasons, spent most of the previous 25 seasons on college sidelines, most significantly at Jones County Junior College in his native Mississippi. 

*Woodland of Stockbridge hired Griffin head coach Antonio Andrews to replace Bryan Love, who took the head coaching job at Wheeler. Andrews' Griffin teams were 28-8. He had been at Griffin, his alma mater, since 2005 and was part of the 2013 Class AAAA championship team. 

Region 5 

*Chamblee hired Duluth offensive coordinator Scott Schwarzer to replace Curtis Mattair, who is now on Lowndes' staff. Schwarzer had been head coach at a pair of struggling programs, Southwest Guilford in North Carolina and Windsor Forest in Georgia, for six seasons before coming to Duluth in 2015. Chamblee has won just six games over the past five seasons. 

*Cross Keys hired Montgomery County head coach John Bowen to replace Mark Adams, who retired from public schools and joined the staff at St. Pius. Bowen was 18-15 at Montgomery County after inheriting an 0-10 team. The Eagles' 2018 team was 8-4 and won the program's first playoff game since 1987. Bowen was Cross Keys' coach in 2015 when the team was 0-5. He has coached at some of the more challenging programs in the state including Glascock County, which broke a state-record 82-game losing streak in 1999 under Bowen. Cross Keys was 1-21 under Adams but played its first full varsity schedule last year since 2013. 

*Lithonia hired its athletics director, Marcus Jelks, as interim head coach to replace Dave Edwards, who is now teaching at Dunwoody. Jelks was Lithonia's head coach from 2010 to 2016 and compiled a 34-38 record. Lithonia was 6-5 last season. 

Region 6 

*Banneker hired Westlake strength coach Lou George to replace Mario Allen, who is now offensive coordinator at Wheeler. George is a former North Carolina Central defensive back who made All-America teams. He has made his name more locally as a personal trainer to athletes. Banneker was 9-2 and won its first region title in history in 2018. 

*Lithia Springs hired Dooly County head coach Corey Jarvis to replace Kevin Hill, who is now offensive coordinator at Hapeville Charter. Jarvis was 7-5 in one season at Dooly. He's better known for his work at Mays, which he led to a Class AAAAA championship game in 2014, and M.L. King, where he posted three 10-win seasons. His coaching record is 98-43. Lithia Springs, 2-8 in 2018, has not had a winning season since a 6-4 finish in 1999. 

Region 7 

*Villa Rica hired Grayson head coach Christian Hunnicutt to replace Rico Zackery, who was hired as defensive ends coach at Kennesaw State. Hunnicutt's record was 20-5 in two seasons at Grayson and 10-3 in 2018. Prior to Grayson, Hunnicutt had been head coach at East Jackson for one season, his first head-coaching position. That team finished 4-6, the best mark for the school in seven seasons. Hunnicutt first made his name as a top assistant at state-powers Buford (1997-2011), Peach County (2012) and Lowndes (2013-14). Villa Rica was 5-5 the past two seasons under Zackery. 

Region 8 

*Buford promoted defensive coordinator Bryant Appling to replace John Ford, who is now defensive coordinator at Bleckley County. Appling has been on Buford's staff the past 15 years through seven state titles and five runner-up finishes. He was an assistant for two seasons at Lithonia before coming to Buford. Appling played at Lithonia High and then at Lehigh, where he was a two-time All-Patriot League middle linebacker. Buford was 21-5 in two seasons under Ford. 

*Johnson of Gainesville hired Habersham Central defensive coordinator Stan Luttrell to replace Jason Roquemore, who took the head coaching job at Towns County. Luttrell is a former head coach at Chestatee (46-38 record from 2006 to 2013) and assistant at Buford (2014-16) and Gainesville (2017). Luttrell's first coaching job was at Johnson in 2002. Johnson was 16-54 in seven seasons under Roquemore, including 4-6 in 2018. 

Coming Tuesday: Class AAAA 

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