McEachern football coach Stephens leaves for Burke County

Burke County has hired McEachern coach Franklin Stephens, an alumnus and former player, to replace the retiring Eric Parker.

Stephens has coached at four schools, leading each to multiple region titles. He led Tucker to Class 4A championships in 2008 and 2011, coached Lamar County to a Class 2A runner-up finish in 2013 and became the fastest coach in GHSA history to 100 victories (109 games) in 2014 while at Ware County.

Stephens became McEachern’s coach in 2019 and led the Indians to an immediate 12-1 finish and a region title. McEachern, a Cobb County Class 7A school, has leveled out since, going 15-17 the past three seasons.

At Burke, Stephens inherit a program that’s reached the playoffs each of the past 16 seasons, all under Parker. Burke won a state title in 2011.

Stephens played at Burke County, graduating in 1991, then played at Georgia Southern.

Parker announced his retirement earlier this month in part because of a health scare during the season, when he suffered a heart attack during a late-season game against Wayne County. He has recovered.