Westlake hires Zackery as football coach

Former Kennesaw State assistant Rico Zackery, who also has a 40-16 record in five previous seasons as a head coach in high school, is the new coach at Westlake. (Photo courtesy of Westlake High School)

Credit: Photo courtesy of Westlake High School

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Former Kennesaw State assistant Rico Zackery, who also has a 40-16 record in five previous seasons as a head coach in high school, is the new coach at Westlake. (Photo courtesy of Westlake High School)

Credit: Photo courtesy of Westlake High School

Westlake has hired Rico Zackery as its football coach, Fulton County Schools announced Tuesday.

Zackery spent the past three seasons as defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator at Kennesaw State under coach Brian Bohannon. Zackery also has been a high school head coach at Villa Rica and Central in Carroll County, where his teams were 40-16 across five seasons.

Kennesaw State was 26-6 during Zackery’s three seasons on staff and won the Big South Conference in 2021.

“I’ve always said that as long as it was the right situation that I’d look back into [high school football], but it had to be right from an administrative standpoint, from a community standpoint and from a school standpoint,’' Zackery said. “I talked with Mr. Adams [Westlake principal Jarvis Adams] a little while, and everything he told me was what I was looking for.’’

One of Zackery’s criteria was a program that could win. Westlake was 10-3 last season in Class 6A under Bobby May, who took the head coaching job at Kell in Cobb County. Westlake will return to Class 7A this fall. The Lions won six straight regions titles in the highest classification from 2014 through 2019.

“Westlake wins games,’' Zackery said. “They haven’t made it to the 15th game [the state finals] yet, and that’s something we want to strive for. But most importantly we want to be able to compete day in and day out with whoever we’ve playing.”

Zackery said his college experience have made him a better coach.

“I definitely it has given me some insight on how recruiting operates from a college coaching standpoint and what they’re looking for,” Zackery said. “The other thing is that it’s ball all day in college football. So it’s made me a better X’s and O’s coach. I also learned a lot from Coach Bohannon on how he did things as a head coach, especially from a culture standpoint.”

Zackery, a Newnan native, also worked a season in 2016 as the recruiting operations director at Georgia Southern, where he played.

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