5 teams in Class A Division I enter season with new head coaches

Number of hires: 5

Best hire: Michael Davis, Rabun County

Hardest to replace: Jaybo Shaw, Rabun County

Best job: Rabun County

Toughest job: Bacon County

Most interesting: Michael Davis joined Rabun County’s staff last season with little idea that he’d be the head coach within a year. But few first-time head coaches have been more ready. Davis spent the previous 19 years at Calhoun, where he was the offensive coordinator for state-championship teams in 2011, 2014 and 2017. He worked with five AJC first-team all-state quarterbacks at Calhoun. None of those high-powered Calhoun teams scored like Rabun County did last season. The Wildcats averaged 48.6 points per game with now-Georgia freshman Gunner Stockton, Davis’ sixth first-team all-state QB. Davis is succeeding Jaybo Shaw, who surprisingly took a job at Wayne County, some 275 miles away in southeast Georgia. Davis inherits a thriving program that has won 82 games since 2015 (tied for fourth most in the GHSA, one more than Calhoun), though still chasing its first state title.

Region 1

*Bacon County hired former Taylor County head coach Mark Wilson to replace Keith Gosse, who joined North Hall’s staff. Wilson, in his 31st season as a head coach, has led programs at Bryan County, Americus-Sumter, White County, Lamar County and Jefferson. His career record is 156-154-1. Bacon County has never won a postseason game and was 0-9 in 2021.

*Pelham hired Thomas County Central Assistant Principal Leonard Guyton to replace Ashton Landing. Guyton, out of coaching the past four years, was a 14-year assistant at Thomas Central, Bainbridge and Berrien, most commonly as offensive coordinator. Guyton was the quarterback on Thomas Central’s 1996 and 1997 state-championship teams. Guyton also starred at Carson-Newman. Pelham has won four region titles over the past six seasons and went 7-5 in 2021 in Landing’s only season. Landing is now Seminole County’s assistant principal, assistant athletic director and offensive coordinator.

Region 2

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Region 3

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Region 4

*Temple hired Central of Carroll County defensive coordinator Cory Nix to replace Scotty Ward, who retired. Temple was 25-35 in Ward’s six seasons, 1-7 in 2021. Nix, a UAB graduate, has coached at Villa Rica, Roswell, Woodstock, Chamblee and alma mater Sequoyah. He was Gordon Central’s head coach for two seasons (2017-18).

Region 5

*Jasper County hired Thomas County Central head coach Ashley Henderson to replace Aaron Pitts, who is no longer in coaching. Henderson’s Thomas Central teams were 19-22 in four seasons. He won three GISA championships while at Valwood in Valdosta, where his six-year record was 66-12. Jasper County was 0-10 in Pitts’ only season.

Region 6

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Region 7

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Region 8

*Rabun County promoted offensive coordinator Michael Davis to replace Jaybo Shaw, who became head coach at Wayne County. Davis was Calhoun’s offensive coordinator from 2002 to 2020, winning three state titles. Rabun was 25-5 in Shaw’s five seasons and reached the Class 2A quarterfinals in 2021.

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