Football coaching changes: New hires at Ware, Model, Campbell, SCD
Ware County, which lost head coach Franklin Stephens to McEachern last month, has found a replacement.
The Gators’ new coach will be Jason Strickland, most recently at Pierce County, where he led the Bears to a 13-1 finish in Class AAA last season.
A native of Clinch County, Strickland also led Fitzgerald to 13-2 records and Class AA runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2016 and led Lamar County to a 12-1 record in 2011. Strickland’s record is 99-39-1 with four region titles in 12 seasons.
Ware County, 43-18 in five years under Stephens, was 8-4 last season.
The number of schools with reported coaching changes this off-season is now 83.
Below are a few of the more recent ones and a list of each.
Former Milton coach now at Campbell
Howie DeCristofaro, who put Milton on good standing before being forced out after the 2016 season, is the new head coach at Campbell in Smyrna. DeCristofaro led Milton to its first region title in history in 2014 with future NFL players Peyton Barber and Carl Lawson. He was let go after a 5-5 finish in 2016, and Milton won its first state title in 2018. DeCristofaro was a head coach in Florida for 12 years before coming to Georgia. He had been Etowah’s defensive coordinator. DeCristofaro replaces Kyle Adkins, who got the Bradwell Institute head coaching job.
Another South Fulton coach has stepped down
Tri-Cities coach Innis Claud has stepped down but will remain at the school as a teacher. Claud’s decision means that four of the five south Fulton County schools – Westlake, Banneker, Hughes and Tri-Cities – will have new coaches. Westlake, which has won four straight region titles in the highest class, lost Kareem Reid to Griffin and hasn’t named a replacement. Hughes promoted defensive assistant Daniel Williams to replace Willie Cannon, who retired. Banneker hired Westlake strength coach Lou George to replace Mario Allen at Banneker. Only Creekside’s Maurice Dixon, who led the Seminoles to an 8-4 finish after going 0-10 in 2017, remains in place.
Hodges retires at Dodge County
Rex Hodges has retired at Dodge County. His teams had won 10 games three of the past four seasons with region titles in 2015 and 2017. He also coached at Bacon County and Toombs County. No replacement has been named. Other retiring coaches this off-season include Calhoun’s Hal Lamb, Clinch County’s Jim Dickerson, Elbert County’s Sid Fritts and Rabun County’s Lee Shaw.
Savannah Country Day hires Westminster assistant
Dennis Coyle resigned as Savannah Country Day’s head coach last month to take the same position at Cincinnati Country Day. His replacement will be Jim Collis, the offensive coordinator at Westminster. Collis was on the staff for Westminster’s 2015 state championship team. Collis won a state title as a head coach at Columbus Academy in Ohio in 2005.
Cartersville assistant gets Model job
Cartersville inside linebackers coach Jeff Hunnicutt got the Model head coaching job last week. He’s the son of Lynn Hunnicutt, a long-time head coach in northwest Georgia who won a state title at Pepperell in 1990 and finished his career at Model in 2011.
Off-season coaching changes:
Alcovy — New coach: Jason Duke … Former coach: Chris Edgar
Americus-Sumter — New coach: Ross Couch … Former coach: Larry Harold
Bacon County — New coach: Keith Gosse … Former coach: Kyle Langford
Banneker — New coach: Lou George … Former coach: Mario Allen
Bradwell Institute — New coach: Kyle Adkins … Former coach: Ross Couch
Buford — New coach: Bryant Appling … Former coach: John Ford
Calhoun — New coach: Clay Stephenson … Former coach: Hal Lamb
Campbell — New coach: Howie DeCristofaro … Former coach: Kyle Adkins
Cartersville — New coach: Conor Foster … Former coach: Joey King
Cedar Grove — New coach: Open … Former coach: Jimmy Smith
Centennial — New coach: Shane Sams … Former coach: Michael Perry
Chamblee — New coach: Scott Schwarzer … Former coach: Curtis Mattair
Charles Drew — New coach: Steve Robinson … Former coach: Dorwyn Lyles
Charlton County — New coach: Russ Murray … Former coach: Rich McWhorter
Clinch County — New coach: Don Tison … Former coach: Jim Dickerson
Colquitt County — New coach: Open … Former coach: Rush Propst
Cook — New coach: Jimmy Rodgers … Former coach: Bobby Jones
Creekview — New coach: Trevor Williams … Former coach: Adam Carter
Cross Keys — New coach: Open … Former coach:
Dodge County — New coach: Open … Former coach: Rex Hodges
Dooly County — New coach: Ashley Harden … Former coach: Corey Jarvis
Dougherty — New coach: Johnny Gilbert … Former coach: Damien Gary
Duluth — New coach: Cam Jones … Former coach: Bob Swank
East Hall — New coach: Michael Perry … Former coach: Scott Patrick
East Jackson — New coach: Cameron Pettus … Former coach: Scott Wilikins
Elbert County — New coach: Brad Waggoner … Former coach: Sid Fritts
Fayette County — New coach: Nick Davis … Former coach: Mike Davis
Forest Park — New coach: Gerren Griffin … Former coach: Martez Edwards
George Walton Academy — New coach: Shane Davis … Former coach: Don Williams
Gilmer — New coach: Kevin Saunders … Former coach: Casey Wingard
Gordon Central — New coach: T.J. Hamilton … Former coach: Corey Nix
Grayson — New coach: Adam Carter … Former coach: Christian Hunnicutt
Greenville — New coach: Tyler Wynn … Former coach: Vex Farley
Griffin — New coach: Kareem Reid … Former coach: Antoino Andrews
Groves — New coach: Open … Former coach: Michael Martin
Hawkinsville — New coach: Open … Former coach: Will Connor
Jackson County — New coach: Rich McWhorter … Former coach: Brandon Worley
Jenkins County — New coach: David Johnson … Former coach: Charley Waters
Johnson-Ganesville — New coach: Open … Former coach: Jason Roquermore
Josey — New coach: John Starr II … Former coach: Marcus Jackson
Lamar County — New coach: Jeffrey Sloan … Former coach: John Flath
Landmark Christian — New coach: Mike Sherrard … Former coach: Joe Scott
Laney — New coach: Rashad Dunn … Former coach: Rodney McFadden
Langston Hughes — New coach: Daniel Williams … Former coach: Wille Cannon
Lassister — New coach: Sean Thom … Former coach: Jep Irwin
Lithia Springs — New coach: Corey Jarvis … Former coach: Kevin Hill
Lithonia — New coach: Marcus Jelks Interim … Former coach: Dave Edwards
McDonough — New coach: Eric Solomon … Former coach: Mo Starr
McEachern — New coach: Frank Stephens … Former coach: Kyle Hoffman
Mill Creek — New coach: Josh Lovelady … Former coach: Shannon Jarvis
Model — New coach: Jeff Hunnicutt … Former coach: Gordon Powers
New Hampstead — New coach: Kyle Hockman … Former coach: Thomas Tedder
New Manchester — New coach: Kevin Whitley … Former coach: Myron Terry
Newton — New coach: Camiel Grant … Former coach: Terrence Banks
Pacelli — New coach: Dwight Jones … Former coach: Mark LeGree
Pebblebrook — New coach: Leroy Hood … Former coach: Kevin Saunders
Pickens — New coach: Jeff Nelson … Former coach: Chris Parker
Pierce County — New coach: Open … Former coach: Jason Strickland
Rabun — New coach: Jaybo Shaw … Former coach: Lee Shaw
Randolph Clay — New coach: Open … Former coach: Harvey Smith
Ridgeland — New coach: Open … Former coach: Cortney Braswell
River Ridge — New coach: Mike Collins … Former coach: Tyler Wynn
Rutland — New coach: Rusty Easom … Former coach: Mark Daniel
Savannah Country Day — New coach: Jim Collis … Former coach: Dennis Coyle
Shiloh — New coach: Tino Lerulli … Former coach: Ryan Andrews
South Effingham — New coach: Nathan Clark … Former coach: Donnie Revell
Spalding — New coach: Jeff Hammonds … Former coach: Nick Davis
Spencer — New coach: Robert Sanders … Former coach: Justin Newman
Stewart County — New coach: Open … Former coach: Ashley Harden
Stockbridge — New coach: Steve Boyd … Former coach: Kevin Whitley
Stone Mountain — New coach: James Lal … Former coach: James Collier
Terrell County — New coach: Open … Former coach: William Huff
Towns County — New coach: Jason Roquemore … Former coach: John Cornett
Tri-Cities — New coach: Open … Former coach: Innis Claud
Turner County — New coach: Nick Hayes … Former coach: Leroy Hood
Villa Rica — New coach: Christian Hunnicutt … Former coach: Rico Zachery
Ware County — New coach: Jason Strickland … Former coach: Frank Stephens
Washington-Willes — New coach: T.C. Jay … Former coach: Chad Alligood
Westlake — New coach: Open … Former coach: Kareem Reid
Westside — New coach: John Wiley … Former coach: Scott Tate
Wheeler — New coach: Bryan Love … Former coach: Mike Collins
Windsor Forest — New coach: Ike Ferrell … Former coach: Gregg Busby
Woodland-Henry — New coach: Antonio Andrews … Former coach: Bryan Love
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.