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Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Head coaches in the state finals: Classes AAAAAAA to AAAA

The 16 head coaches in the state finals have won 2,331 games, lost only 729, tied seven, and have a winning percentage of .761. They've won 30 state championships.

GHSF Daily will take a closer look each of the 16 coaches today and Wednesday starting, with classes AAAAAAA to AAAA.


*Rush Propst, Colquitt County: Propst once was called the most famous high school coach in the country, and the title still fits. He got the label from his days at Hoover High in Alabama, where he won five state titles, and from the MTV series "Two-A-Days," which chronicled Hoover's nationally prominent football program. Some of his former assistants include Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and Georgia linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer. Propst was hired at Colquitt County in 2008. In his 10 seasons in Moultrie, Propst has led the Packers to 105 wins and state titles in 2015 and 2016. The Packers' eight semifinal appearances in nine seasons are a state-record in the highest classification. Propst is from Ohatchee, Ala. One of his first coaching jobs in the 1980s was a brief stint at Cherokee High in Georgia. His overall record as a head coach is 281-94.

*Bill Stewart, North Gwinnett: Stewart is the only head coach in the finals in his first season at his school. He coordinated record-setting defenses at Mill Creek the past three seasons and was part of two final-four teams. Stewart had been head coach at Etowah (2006-11) in Cherokee County with a record of 41-26 with three region titles. He remains the winningest coach in Etowah history. Stewart is from Seffner, Fla. He was a standout linebacker at Central Florida in the late 1980s and a two-time All-Arena League performer with the Orlando Predators. He coached at Central Florida and two Florida high schools before coming to Georgia as Parkview's defensive coordinator in 2003.


*Dean Fabrizio, Lee County: Fabrizio came to Lee County in 2009, inheriting a team that had gone 0-10 and a program with only one region title and two state-playoff victories in its history. In the nine years since, Lee County is 65-35 with two region titles. This is the Trojans' first state-final appearance. Fabrizio had come from Peach County, where he was the defensive coordinator. Fabrizio is from Winter Park, Fla. He played college football at Central Methodist in Missouri and coached there for three seasons before heading to the Orlando area. He was an assistant there for several years and was part of two Class 6A state-championship games. (Fabrizio and North Gwinnett head coach Bill Stewart were on the same staff at Apopka more than 20 years ago.) Fabrizio was head coach for two seasons at DeLand, Fla., taking over a program that had not had a winning season in two years and leading it to consecutive winning seasons.

*Robby Pruitt, Coffee: Pruitt has won 340 games in his career, which trails only Alan Chadwick of Marist among active Georgia coaches. The wins are almost evenly split between Georgia (173-48-1), where he has led Fitzgerald and now Coffee to state finals, and his native Florida (167-30), where he won seven state titles, four at University Christian and three at Union County. Pruitt had won more state titles than any other coach in Florida history when he was inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000, when he came to Georgia. This would be Pruitt's first state title in Georgia. Pruitt is from Gainesville, Fla. He was a running back at Liberty University in Virginia.


*Mike Chastain, Warner Robins: Chastain had been rival Houston County's offensive coordinator for three seasons, helping develop current Georgia QB Jake Fromm, when hired as Warner Robins' head coach in 2016. His first season resulted in a 3-8 finish, but now Chastain can become only the seventh coach in GHSA history to win a state championship immediately following a losing season. Chastain previously had been an assistant at Bleckley County, Lee County, Peach County, Veterans and his alma mater, Warner Robins' archrival Northside. Chastain was on Peach's staff under Chad Campbell with Dean Fabrizio, who then brought him to Lee County upon getting that job in 2009. Campbell, Fabrizio and Chastain are all head coaches in this year's finals.

*John Reid, Rome: Reid led Rome to its first state title last season, but his claims to making history predated that. Reid won state titles in Tennessee at Alcoa (2004, 2005), then came to Georgia in 2006, where he immediately led East Paulding to a 12-2 finish and the Class AAAA semifinals. East Paulding was 3-7 the season before and had never made the playoffs. Reid was 60-15 in his six seasons with the Raiders. Reid coached at Tift County for three seasons and in 2014 led Tift to its first playoff berth in six years. Reid took the Rome job in 2015. Reid's career record is 152-50.

Class AAAA

*Tim McFarlin, Blessed Trinity: McFarlin can become the 15th head coach in GHSA history to win state titles at two schools. He won a Class AAAAA championship in 2006 at Roswell, where his record was 82-34-1 in 10 seasons. McFarlin stepped away from coaching for a season in 2008 while continuing to teach at Roswell, then was an assistant at King's Ridge and then Roswell again before taking the Blessed Trinity job in 2011. He has led the Titans to four region titles and a 73-19-1 record. McFarlin has spent most of his life in north Fulton County. He is a Milton graduate and former quarterback/defensive back and was a 16-year assistant at Roswell before succeeding Ray Manus in 1998.

Coming Wednesday: Classes AAA, AA and A

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