Football hires: Jefferson hires; Peachtree Ridge, Collins Hill, Newnan open

The past week was the busiest of the off-season so far in football head-coaching news as Buford hired Roswell’s John Ford, Roswell hired Johns Creek’s Matt Kemper, and Camden County hired North Gwinett’s Bob Sphire.


Several other big positions have opened or closed since the new year began. Those include jobs at Jefferson, Peachtree Ridge, Collins Hill and Newnan.

Here is a rundown.

*Jefferson has promoted offensive coordinator Gene Cathcart to replace Ben Hall, who took the Flowery Branch job. Cathcart was a head coach for five seasons at Greenwood in South Carolina and won a state title there in 2011. His coaching record, which includes a stay at Habersham Central in Georgia, where he won two region titles, is 109-39. Cathcart came to Jefferson in 2014.

*Mark Fleetwood has resigned after six seasons at Peachtree Ridge to take a job in Alabama that has not been announced. Fleetwood’s teams made the playoffs five times and were 41-27.

*Collins Hill head coach Kevin Reach (pictured, AJC photo) has taken the Monroe Area job. Reach was 46-36 in seven seasons at Collins Hill and led the Eagles to the semifinals in 2010.

*Newnan coach Mike McDonald has resigned. McDonald’s teams were 56-37 in his eight seasons but 3-7 in 2016.

*Keith Holloway, who led Mount Zion of Carroll County to its greatest success, has retired after 30 years of teaching and coaching. Mount Zion’s records of 8-4, 8-4 and 9-2 the past three seasons are the three in program history, which dates to 1956. The announcement of a replacement is expected next week.

*Claxton has hired Savannah coach Tony Welch. Savannah, at 9-3, had its first winning season in 2016 since 1995.

*Trey Woolf, one of the two longest-tenured coaches at one school in Class AA, retired at Early County after 16 seasons as head coach. His teams were 105-75-3 and reached the state final in 2001 and semifinals 2002 and 2006. Jefferson County’s J.B. Arnold had been the only other AA coach with 16 seasons at his school.

*Mitchell County coach Larry Cornelius, fresh off a 9-3 season, announced his resignation this week. He will be head coach at Lakewood High in Sumter, S.C. His Mitchell County teams were 30-24 in five seasons.

*Bruce Mullen of Northeast in Macon has retired after 13 seasons. His teams made the playoffs six times and were 65-71.

*North Oconee has hired Parkview offensive coordinator Tyler Aurandt to replace the retiring Terry Tuley. Aurandt spent the 2011-13 seasons at Grayson, including the ’11 state-championship team, and was offensive coordinator in 2013. Aurandt is a Greater Atlanta Christian graduate who played on two national-championship teams at Valdosta State.

*Appling County has hired East Paulding coach Jon Lindsey to replace J.T. Pollock, who was 82-49 in 12 seasons. Lindsey has taken Irwin County, Cook and East Pauling to the playoffs in his six seasons as a head coach.

*Lee Hannah has stepped down at Baldwin after three seasons. His teams were 7-5, 4-6 and 4-7.

*The Washington-Wilkes job is open. Jacob Kelley was 4-7 I his two seasons.

*Jeff Davis has hired Dublin assistant head coach Lance Helton to replace Ed Lovvorn, who was 2-7 in his one season. Helton is a former all-state player at Washington County.

*Union Grove has hired Villa Rica coach Chad Frazier to replace Craig Melton, who was 2-17-1 in two seasons. Frazier’s record is 54-51 in 10 seasons, including a stint at Heritage in Rockdale County.

*Perry has hired Houston County defensive line coach Kevin Smith to replace Carl Dixon, whose teams were 5-15 in two seasons. Perry was an assistant of Northside of Warner Robins, his alma mater, for 18 seasons.


Appling County hired Jon Lindsey to replace J.T. Pollock
Buford hired John Ford to replace Jess Simpson
Camden County hired Bob Sphire to replace Welton Coffey
Campbell hired Kyle Adkins to replace Ryan Brady
Carver (Columbus) hired Calvin Arnold to replace Dremail King
Cedartown hired Doyle Kelley to replace Scott Hendrix)
Central (Carrollton) hired Darius Smiley to replace Larry Kesler
Claxton hired Tony Welch to replace Rodrick Williams
Coahulla Creek hired Caleb Bagley to replace Chad Barger
East Paulding hired Billy Shackelford to replace Jon Lindsey
Flowery Branch hired Ben Hall to replace Chris Griffin
Gilmer promoted Casey Wingard, who had been interim coach for the final seven games
Haralson County hired Scott Peavey to replace Frank Vohun
Hart County hired Rance Gillespie to replace William Devane
Jeff Davis hired Lance Helton to replace Ed Lovvorn
Jefferson hired Gene Cathcart to replace Ben Hall
Monroe Area hired Kevin Reach to replace Joey Sulkowski
North Oconee hired Tyler Aurandt to replace Terry Tuley
Pacelli hired Mark LeGreeto replace Buster Connally
Perry hired Kevin Smith to replace Carl Dixon
Roswell hired Matt Kemper to replace John Ford
Shaw hired Al Pellegrino to replace Chuck Stamey
Statesboro hired Jeff Kaiser to replace Steve Pennington
Union Grove hired Chad Frazier to replace Craig Melton
Villa Rica hired Rico Zackery to replace Chad Frazier

Still open:

Atkinson County – David Parker
Baconton Charter – Johnny Hayes
Baldwin – Lee Hannah
Bleckley County – Tracy White
Bradwell Institute – Greg Hill
Brunswick – Larry Harold
Collins Hill – Kevin Reach
Creekside – Will Rogers
Dutchtown – Mark Myers
Early County – Trey Woolf
East Coweta – Steve Pardue
Forest Park – Dale Myers
Gordon Central – David Humphreys
Hebron Christian – Kevin Shaffer
Heritage School – Derrick Clay
Johns Creek – Matt Kemper
Long County – Eric McNair
M.L. King – Nicolas Kashama
Mitchell County – Larry Cornelius
Mount Zion (Carroll) – Keith Holloway
Newnan – Mike McDonald
North Gwinnett – Bob Sphire
Northeast – Bruce Mullen
Northview – Chad Davenport
Peachtree Ridge – Mark Fleetwood
Pope – Kyle Adkins
Savannah – Tony Welch
South Cobb – Sherrod Rainge
Southwest DeKalb – Fletcher Salter
Sprayberry – Billy Shackelford
Stone Mountain – Utavius Ingram
Strong Rock Christian – Tommy Webb
Tattnall County – Jeff Kaiser
Therrell – Dominic Callaway
Washington-Wilkes – Jacob Kelley
White County – Bill Ballard

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