New Bleckley County football coach Von Lassiter was standing on a plot of land where his new home will be when he was contacted Monday . It was an emotional moment, like many others that have developed since he announced he was leaving as head football coach at Houston County to return home to Cochran.
The property, which holds a special place in the heart of the Lassiter family, is just across the street from his childhood home where his mother resides today.
“I’ve lived here my whole life," Lassiter said. "We bought 18 acres right across from my mom’s house, where I grew up, and we are about to build here.”
Lassiter said he is excited to give his three boys, ages 15, 10, and 8, the same experiences he had growing up.
“We are really looking forward to living here and being able to live right (where I grew up)," he said. "Also, to be able to let my kids do the same things I did when I was growing up. That is big."
Lassiter is one of the 80 or so coaching changes that have occurred since the 2016 football season ended in December at the Georgia Dome. In upcoming weeks, we'll look at many of the changes in this blog. Some coaches left for money. Others wanted to coach larger programs. And some, well, they just wanted to go home.
That was the case for Lassiter, who compiled a 35-12 record in four seasons at Houston County, while coaching Jake Fromm, one of the nation's top quarterbacks, who will begin competing for a starting spot at UGA this spring. Lassiter faces a challenge to rebuild a Bleckley County program that went 2-8, 1-5 last season.
“We are starting to build a house, and I had to meet a crew here today, so it worked out perfect,” he said.
"The first people who looked at our house in Warner Robins bought it. So, we closed on it about a month ago, and that happened quickly. The place that I bought down here has a mobile home on it. There are five of us, and we are living in a two-bedroom one-bath single-wide trailer right now until the house built. So, it is kind of close-quarters, but we have enjoyed it so far. But I am leaving half an acre in Warner Robins for almost 18 acres here in Cochran.”
Lassiter has coached at Bleckley County before. He had a short stint in 2005-06 as an offensive coordinator and a three-year run from 2009-12 before moving to Houston County.
Lassiter discussed the challenge at Bleckley and other things in a short Q&A.
Q. How would you describe your relationship with the fan base at Bleckley?
A. I know them all. I grew up here and coached here before. And this will be my third stop here. God just always leads me back to home. I know all of them; I know a lot of the kids. I have played with a lot of their parents or went to school with a lot of their parents. So, I am kind of in a familiar place. I was here in 05’-06’ as the offensive coordinator, and I came back in 2009 and stayed until 2012. I actually coached -- I forgot about this -- I here when I was in college for three years. And so, I did that the entire time I was in college. So, I kind of have a lot of roots here.
Q. Is there a Jake Fromm in Cochran?
A. Well I will be honest with you. There are not many Jakes running around this entire world. Not just Georgia and not just in the Southeast. There are not a lot of him in the entire world. There are a lot of great kids down here. They are working hard. There are a lot of great athletes down here ... guys like Torenio Davis, who went to Georgia Tech, I think it was Saturday , and jumped 6-6 after he broke the school high-jump record last week. Then he leaves Georgia Tech and goes to Macon for the high school All-Star game and wins the dunk contest. So, guys like him, 6-foot-3 or 6-4, and can jump out of the gym. I am excited about those types of athletes.
Q. What are your thoughts on the Fromm brothers, Dylan and Tyler, transferring to Warner Robins?
A. You know, I really don’t have a comment on that. It was after I was gone. I did not have any say-so in that I did not have an opinion on that. I will tell you this, however. I hate that that’s something we have to worry about these days. Guys transferring. And to be honest with you, that is another reason that I am excited about being in a school system that has only one high school. Here at Bleckley, I am going to have the kids I have. I am going to coach those kids, and they aren’t going to go across town to another school. That is just one of the things in a multi-school system, with four high schools in one system, you have to deal with. It is a tough situation for a coach and a tough situation for players to be in.