Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Four Questions with White County coach Bill Ballard

GHSF Daily asked Georgia head coaches to answer these four questions. We'll report from a different head coach each day.

Bill Ballard, White County

1. Who is/was the most influential person in your coaching career? "I was fortunate to be around some great coaches who were excellent examples for my teammates and me during the time I played football. In youth ball, if you got a cut on your hand, Jack Moore would say, 'Give me some of that blood' and rub it on his shirt and so I was fine. He made me love the game. In high school, we had three former head coaches on staff - Terry Sparks, Joe Windham and George B. Maloof, who all had their own BIG personalities that meshed. We had a ball in college at Furman. Bobby Johnson, Tommy Marshall and Steve Wilson had the greatest impact, as football was their calling and they lived it. They treated us like family."

2. Who is the best Georgia player you ever faced? "As a coach, Sean McVay of Marist, 2003. He had full command of the option game. He was a winner." [McVay is now the offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins.]

3. What is the best team you ever faced as a coach? "In 1996 while coaching at Lakeside, we beat Dougherty in the Georgia Dome. Coach Ed Pilcher said that was the best team bar classification. His Thomas County team was the best, and they beat us in the finals bad. They had Leonard Guyton at quarterback, Joe Burns at running back, Robert Presley, Eugene Brooks and Raytorrie Newkirk, just to name a few. They were a well-oiled, triple-option machine."

4. If you were Gary Phillips, the new head of the GHSA, what would be the first rule that you would try to change? "I think many people in Georgia high schools would like to see Mr. Phillips and the reclassification committee come up with some answers to deal with the growing complexities of our state enrollment. While this is a monumental task and there is no way to make everyone happy, there are many issues to deal with here, economic issues like travel expenses and gate receipts as costs go up and gates go down. We need local games. We also have the question of public, private and city schools that prove to be inequitable in certain classifications as attendance zones and the percentages of students coming from outside the attendance zones are not consistent among them. In addition, school graduation rates play into the classification in which a school is placed. A school that has a 95 percent graduation rate as compared to a school that has a 75 percent graduation rate of comparable size is potentially placed in a higher classification because they are graduating more students. This action goes against the stop-the-drop campaign the GHSA is promoting. Although this is a daunting task and I do not pretend to have the answers, I do have a great deal of respect and admiration for the people that run athletics in this state. On the bright side, there are a great number of very experienced individuals on these GHSA committees, and I would push them for some fresh ideas in this area."

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