Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Football hires: Gillespie headed to Hart County; Camden job open


The number of high school football coaching changes is now over 40 (list below). Here are are few of the recent hirings and openings.

Rance Gillespie, recently let go after one season as Georgia Southern’s co-offensive coordinator, is the new head coach at Hart County.

Gillespie won state titles at Peach County in 2005 and 2006 and was Valdosta’s head coach from 2010 to 2015 before going back into the college ranks. Gillespie’s high school record is 119-51. At Hart County, Gillespie will be nearer his native Rabun County. He will replace the retiring William DeVane. Hart County was 11-2 as recently as 2014 but 1-9 in 2016.

The Camden County job is open. Camden has made Welton Coffey its athletics director, and Coffey will relinquish his head football coaching duties. Coffey will replace the retiring A.D. Gary Blount. Coffey has been at Camden since 2006. Camden was 27-16 in four seasons under Coffey, 2-7 in 2016.

Shaw has promoted Al Pellegrino to replace Chuck Stamey, who was 6-15 at the Columbus school. Pellegrino, Shaw’s athletics director, has been a head coach at Georgia schools Heritage (Conyers), East Hall and Savannah. He had been an assistant at Sycamore in Tennessee before returning to Georgia last summer.

Statesboro has hired Tattnall County coach Jeff Kaiser to replace Steve Pennington, who stepped down after 13 seasons. Kaiser was 62-55 in 11 seasons at Tattnall County, a program that hadn’t had a winning season in nine years before he arrived. Pennington won a state title at Statesboro in 2005. The program was only 4-26 the past three seasons.

New coaches:

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

Coahulla Creek hired Caleb Bagley to replace Chad Barger

East Paulding hired Billy Shackelford to replace Jon Lindsey

Gilmer promoted Casey Wingard, who had been interim coach for the final seven games

Hart County hired Rance Gillespie to replace William Devane

Pacelli hired Mark LeGreeto replace Buster Connally

Shaw hired Al Pellegrino to replace Chuck Stamey

Statesboro hired Jeff Kaiser to replace Steve Pennington

Villa Rica hired Rico Zackery to replace Chad Frazier

Still open:

Appling County: J.T. Pollock

Baconton Charter: Johnny Hayes

Bleckley County: Tracy White

Bradwell Institute: Greg Hill

Brunswick: Larry Harold

Buford: Jess Simpson

Camden County: Welton Coffey

Campbell: Ryan Brady

Claxton: Rodrick Williams

Dutchtown: Mark Myers

East Coweta: Steve Pardue

Flowery Branch: Chris Griffin

Forest Park: Dale Myers

Haralson County: Frank Vohun

Hebron Christian: Kevin Shaffer

Jeff Davis: Ed Lovvorn

M.L. King: Nicolas Kashama

Monroe Area: Joey Sulkowski

North Oconee: Terry Tuley

Northview: Chad Davenport

Perry: Carl Dixon

Pope: Kyle Adkins

South Cobb: Sherrod Rainge

Southwest DeKalb: Fletcher Salter

Sprayberry: Billy Shackelford

Strong Rock Christian: Tommy Webb

Tattnall County: Jeff Kaiser

Therrell: Dominic Callaway

Union Grove: Craig Melton

White County: Bill Ballard


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