Steve Davenport, who led Woodland of Stockbridge to its first 10-win football season and playoff victories in 2016, is the new head coach at South Gwinnett.
Davenport was 24-9 in three years at a Henry County school that had finished 2-8 each of the three previous seasons.
‘’I really felt like the time was right to make a change,’’ Davenport said. “I’m going to miss my boys here. We worked three hard years to raise the program to a level of respectability, and we’re there now, but this opportunity was there and not one that I could pass up.’’
Davenport came to Woodland after a two-year stint as head coach at Savannah State. Prior, he was head coach at Decatur (2003-04) and Redan (1998-01). His 2003 Decatur team was 13-1. Davenport is a former wide receiver at Georgia Tech and Southwest DeKalb.
At South Gwinnett, Davenport will replace John Small, who took the East Coweta head-coaching job after 12 seasons in Snellville. South Gwinnett was 8-4 in 2016.
‘’Obviously you’re playing in the highest classification, and it’s closer to home [in Stone Mountain], and the people there were extremely nice to me and obliging to things that I asked for,’’ Davenport said. ‘’There were a bunch of things that added up, so I jumped on it.’’
South Gwinnett returns top-100 national prospects Justin Mascoll, a defensive end, and Robert Cooper, a defensive lineman, but Davenport said that current talent level wasn't a factor in his decision.
‘’Obviously you want to be able to compete, but I’m walking away from some really good players too, so it wasn’t about that,’’ he said. ‘’My job is to take the talent that’s there and develop that and take it to a level that is successful.’’
Davenport will start at South Gwinnett on March 1. He planned to meet with his Woodland players at noon Friday to say goodbye.
‘’In retrospect, it’s been really, really good at Woodland,’’ Davenport said. “I had the opportunity to take over a program in the dumpster and went into a position where we could compete with whoever else was on the other sideline, and that was the goal from day one. We’re going to miss the kids who were working tremendously hard. Whoever gets the job here, it’s in better shape than I found it.’’