Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Football hires: East Coweta, Pope, Brunswick, Hebron fill openigs


John Small, who led South Gwinnett to an 8-4 finish last season, is the new head coach at East Coweta. (Photo: South Gwinnett Football.)

Approved Friday in a school board meeting, Small will replace the retiring Steve Pardue.

East Coweta has been 8-3 each of the past three seasons and has reached the playoffs in the highest classification each year since 1997.

Small leaves behind a talented South Gwinnett program, which will return defensive end Justin Mascoll, rated the consensus No. 3 junior prospect in Georgia and No. 19 player overall nationally, and defensive tackle Robert Cooper, who is committed to Florida State.

Small was 68-62 in his 12 seasons at South. His 2016 team was a big turnaround from a 2-8 campaign and ended the Comets’ drought of winning seasons at three.

See The Newnan Times-Herald’s article for more on Small’s hiring.

Pope hires Mount Paran coordinator Griffin

Pope has hired Mount Paran Christian offensive coordinator Tab Griffin, a Pope alumnus, to replace Kyle Adkins.

Griffin was on Pope’s staff from 2001 until moving to Mount Paran to help start that program in 2008. He was part of Mount Paran’s 2014 state-championship team.

Griffin will continue to coach Mount Paran’s girls basketball team before coming to Pope full time. He will inherit one of the state’s elite quarterbacks. Evan Conley threw for more than 2,000 yards ad rushed for over 900 in just 10 games.

Pope was 3-7 last season under Adkins, who took the head-coaching job at Campbell.

See The Marietta Daily Journal’s article for more on Griffin’s hiring.

Brunswick hires Pierce County coach

Brunswick has hired Pierce County coach Sean Pender to replace Larry Harold, who stepped down after two seasons. Pender led Pierce to three 10-win seasons and two quarterfinal finishes. His 2016 team was 9-4 behind all-state quarterback Stetson Bennett. Pender also has been a head coach at Brantley County (2002-09) and Crisp County (2010). Brunswick was 3-7 and 5-5 under Harold.

Former NFL player Saturday takes Hebron job

Hebron Christian has promoted offensive coordinator Jeff Saturday, a 14-year former NFL player, as head coach. Saturday had worked for two seasons at Hebron under Kevin Shaffer, another former NFL player, who resigned. Hebron reached the state playoffs for the first time last season with a 5-6 record. Saturday played in six Pro Bowls and was the center for 13 seasons for Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Will Hammock of the Gwinnett Daily Post was the first to report. See the Gwinnett Daily Post's article  for more on Saturday’s hiring.

Off-season hirings:

Appling County hired Jon Lindsey to replace J.T. Pollock

Brunswick hired Sean Pender to replace Larry Harold

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 Coweta hired John Small to replace Steve Pardue

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

Hebron Christian hired Jeff Saturday to replace Kevin Shaffer

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

Pope hired Tab Griffin to replace Kyle Adkins

Roswell hired Matt Kemper to replace John Ford

Shaw hired Al Pellegrino to replace Chuck Stamey

Statesboro hired Jeff Kaiser to replace Steve Pennington

Terrell hired Greg Sullivan to replace Dominic Callaway

Union Grove hired Chad Frazier to replace Craig Melton

Villa Rica hired Rico Zackery to replace Chad Frazier

Jobs still open:

Atkinson County - David Parker (former coach)

Baconton Charter - Johnny Hayes

Baldwin - Lee Hannah

Bleckley County - Tracy White

Bradwell Institute - Greg Hill

Collins Hill - Kevin Reach

Creekside - Will Rogers

Dutchtown - Mark Myers

Early County - Trey Woolf

Forest Park - Dale Myers

Gordon Central - David Humphreys

Johns Creek - Matt Kemper

Luella – Nick Vasilcheck

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

Savannah - Tony Welch

South Cobb - Sherrod Rainge

South Gwinnett – John Small

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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