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Football hires: Sandy Creek, Fitzgerald, Centennial name new coaches

Sandy Creek has promoted defensive coordinator Brett Garvin to replace Chip Walker, who took the head-coaching job at Newnan.

Garvin has been with Sandy Creek’s football program since 2001, when Rodney Walker was the head coach. Rodney Walker’s son Chip took over in 2005. Sandy Creek has won 12 region titles in that time.

Garvin’s son Cole was an all-state quarterback on Sandy Creek’s 2012 state-championship team.

For more on Garvin’s hiring, see Christopher Dunn’s story in the Fayette County News.

Here are more recent coaching changes. See list below of 83 known openings this off-season.

Valdosta coordinator takes Fitzgerald job
Fitzgerald has hired Valdosta offensive coordinator Tucker Pruitt to replace Jason Strickland, who took the Pierce County job. Pruitt is a graduate of Fitzgerald and former quarterback there under his father Robby Pruitt, current head coach at Coffee. Tucker Pruitt was offensive coordinator at Valdosta for one season, which culminated in a state championship, although he had been on Rance Gillespie’s Valdosta staff in 2010. In between, he was offensive coordinator at Lowndes, Coffee and Thomson. See Derrick Davis’ story in the Valdosta Daily Times for more on Pruitt’s hiring.

Centennial hires former Coffee, Gainesville OC
Centennial has hired Coffee offensive coordinator Michael Perry to replace Lenny Gregory, who took the Collins Hill job. Perry was best known as the offensive coordinator at Gainesville from 2011 2015. The 2012 team, led by Deshaun Watson, won the Class AAAAA title.

Walburn retires at Northgate
Northgate head coach Tommy Walburn has retired. Walburn’s record as a head coach is 114-67 in 16 seasons. He has been head coach at Troup (2001-05), Crisp County (2006-09) and Northgate (201-016). His 2001 Troup and 2015 Northgate teams reached the semifinals. Northgate was 9-3 last season. Doug Gorman of the Newnan Times-Herald notes that all three Coweta County schools, including Newnan and East Coweta, will have new head coaches next season, as will two small private schools that don’t play in the GHSA.

East Jackson promotes Wilkins
East Jackson has promoted offensive coordinator Scott Wilkins to replace Christian Hunnicutt, who took the Grayson job. Wilkins was a head coach at Cedar Shoals over two stints and had a 108-68-1 record. East Jackson was 4-6 in one season under Hunnicutt. That is the program’s best finish since 2009 (10-2).

Savannah hires Roberson
Savannah has hired David Roberson II to replace Tony Welch, who had led the Blue Jackets to their first winning season since 1993. Welch left to become head coach at Claxton. Roberson had been Lithia Springs’ special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach. He coached several seasons in college football, including a stint at Savannah State. He was on the support staff at Penn State.

Hired:
Appling County – Jon Lindsey (replaced J.T. Pollock)
Atkinson County – Carl McGowan (replaced David Parker)
Baconton Charter – Randy Grace (replaced Johnny Hayes)
Baldwin – Jesse Hicks (replaced Lee Hannah)
Bleckley County – Von Lassiter (replaced Tracy White)
Bradwell Institute – Ross Couch (replaced Greg Hill)
Brunswick – Sean Pender (replaced Larry Harold)
Buford – John Ford (replaced Jess Simpson)
Calvary Day – Mark Stroud (replaced Rick Tomberlin)
Camden County – Bob Sphire (replaced Welton Coffey)
Campbell – Kyle Adkins (replaced Ryan Brady)
Carver (Columbus) – Calvin Arnold (replaced Dremail King)
Cedartown – Doyle Kelley (replaced Scott Hendrix)
Centennial – Michael Perry (replaced Lenny Gregory)
Central (Carrollton) – Darius Smiley (replaced Larry Kesler)
Claxton – Tony Welch (replaced Rodrick Williams)
Coahulla Creek – Caleb Bagley (replaced Chad Barger)
Collins Hill – Lenny Gregory (replaced Kevin Reach)
Creekside – Artutro Meza (replaced Will Rogers)
Dutchtown – Clifford Fedd (replaced Mark Myers)
East Coweta – John Small (replaced Steve Pardue)
East Jackson – Scott Wilkins (replaced Christian Hunnicutt)
East Paulding – Billy Shackelford (replaced Jon Lindsey)
Fitzgerald – Tucker Pruitt (replaced Jason Strickland)
Flowery Branch – Ben Hall (replaced Chris Griffin)
Gilmer – Casey Wingard (replaced Casey Wingard)
Gordon Central – Cory Nix (replaced David Humphreys)
Grayson – Christian Hunnicutt (replaced Jeff Herron)
Haralson County – Scott Peavey (replaced Frank Vohun)
Hart County – Rance Gillespie (replaced William Devane)
Hebron Christian – Jeff Saturday (replaced Kevin Shaffer)
Houston County – Ryan Crawford (replaced Von Lassiter)
Jeff Davis – Lance Helton (replaced Ed Lovvorn)
Jefferson – Gene Cathcart (replaced Ben Hall)
Johns Creek – Matt Helmerich (replaced Matt Kemper)
Long County – J.T. Pollock (replaced Eric McNair)
Milton – Adam Clack (replaced Howie DeCristofaro)
Mitchell County – Deshon Brock (replaced Larry Cornelius)
Monroe Area – Kevin Reach (replaced Joey Sulkowski)
Mount Zion (Carroll) – Brad Gordon (replaced Keith Holloway)
Newnan – Chip Walker (replaced Mike McDonald)
North Gwinnett – Bill Stewart (replaced Bob Sphire)
North Oconee – Tyler Aurandt (replaced Terry Tuley)
Northview – James Thomson (replaced Chad Davenport)
Pacelli – Mark LeGree (replaced Buster Connally)
Peachtree Ridge – Reggie Stancil (replaced Mark Fleetwood)
Perry – Kevin Smith (replaced Carl Dixon)
Pierce County – Jason Strickland (replaced Sean Pender)
Pope – Tab Griffin (replaced Kyle Adkins)
Roswell – Matt Kemper (replaced John Ford)
Sandy Creek – Brett Garvin (replaced Chip Walker)
Savannah – David Roberson (replaced Tony Welch)
Shaw – Al Pellegrino (replaced Chuck Stamey)
South Cobb – Terry Jones (replaced Sherrod Rainge)
South Gwinnett – Steve Davenport (replaced John Small)
Sprayberry – Brett Vavra (replaced Billy Shackelford)
Statesboro – Jeff Kaiser (replaced Steve Pennington)
Therrell – Greg Sullivan (replaced Dominic Callaway)
Union Grove – Chad Frazier (replaced Craig Melton)
Villa Rica – Rico Zackery (replaced Chad Frazier)
Washington-Wilkes – Chad Alligood (replaced Jacob Kelley)
White County – Tim Cokely (replaced Bill Ballard)

Open:
Central (Macon) – Jesse Hicks
Early County – Trey Woolf
Forest Park – Dale Myers
Kell – Derek Cook
Lithonia – Marcus Jelks
Luella – Nick Vasilchek
M.L. King – Nicolas Kashama
McIntosh County Academy – Robby Robinson
Northeast – Bruce Mullen
Northgate – Tommy Walburn
Osborne – Troy Jones
Sandy Creek – Chip Walker
Southwest DeKalb – Fletcher Salter
Stone Mountain – Utavius Ingram
Strong Rock Christian – Tommy Webb
Swainsboro – Mark Stroud
Tattnall County – Jeff Kaiser
Wayne County – Derek Chastain
West Forsyth – Adam Clack
Woodland (Stockbridge) – Steve Davenport
Worth County – Jason Tone


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