Former Westlake coach Love one of 15 hires in Class AA
GHSF Daily is chronicling the many coaching changes in the offseason. We continue today with Class AA.
Number of hires: 15
Best hire: Bryan Love, Lamar County
Hardest to replace: Ed Pilcher, Berrien
Best job: Thomasville
Toughest job: Temple
Most interesting: Bryan Love stepped down as coach of Westlake, a Class AAAAAA semifinalist and program with multiple Division I prospects, to head up a rural AA program, Lamar County. That’s not the first time something like that has happened. Franklin Stephens left Tucker for Lamar County four years earlier and stayed a couple of years before going to Ware County. Lamar County peaked at 14-1 under Stephens in 2013. The Trojans were 7-4 last season.
*Berrien promoted Bill Cribb to replace Ed Pilcher, who retired with a career record of 250-116-1 and five state championships. Cribb came to Berrien as a part-time employee in 2015. He was a longtime member of Lowndes’ staff, dating to the 1980s, and a player on Lowndes’ 1980 state-championship team. Pilcher cited health reasons for his departure.
*Thomasville hired Gilmer head coach Zach Grage to replace Leroy Ryals, who was let go after a two-year record of 15-17 and a 1-8 finish in 2015. Gilmer was 4-6 in Grage’s one season as head coach. Grage had been on coach Rush Propst’s staff at Colquitt County for six seasons, serving as co-offensive coordinator, strength-and-conditioning coach and running backs coach. Grage is from Indiana. Ryals later was hired as Cedar Shoals’ head coach.
*Bacon County promoted defensive coordinator Kyle Langford to replace Ken Cofer, who resigned and later took a job as linebackers coach at Dodge County. Langford was head coach at Towns County from 2007 to 2012. Bacon County was 6-5 and 5-5 under Cofer.
*Jeff Davis promoted defensive coordinator Ed Lovvorn to replace Roger Metts, who remained as athletics director. Lovvorn has coached for 31 years at eight Georgia high schools, including one, Temple, as a head coach (1991-92). He was offensive coordinator at Rockdale County for 10 years and defensive coordinator at Washington-Wilkes for eight. Metts’ teams were 19-31 in five seasons.
*Swainsboro hired Calvary Day head coach Mark Stroud, a Swainsboro alumnus, to replace Ken Eldridge, whose teams were 12-20 in three seasons. Stroud’s record is 187-85 in 24 seasons as a head coach at Toombs County (1992-2007) and Calvary Day (2008-15). His teams have played in six quarterfinals and one final (2013 Calvary). Eldridge is now on Worth County’s staff.
*Toombs County hired Southeastern University defensive coordinator Richie Marsh to replace Lyman Guy, whose teams were 2-8 in each of his two seasons. Marsh was Thomasville’s head coach from 2005 to 2012 and had a 53-40 record. Guy, a head coach for more than 15 years who won GISA championships in 2003 and 2004 at Toombs Academy, has gone into private business.
*East Laurens promoted defensive coordinator Chris Robinson to replace Buddy Sorrow, who retired. Robinson has been an assistant for 20 years, the past five at East Laurens. He also has coached at Bradley Central and Walker Valley in his hometown of Cleveland, Tenn., and later at Dublin. East Laurens was 4-6 in Sorrow’s only season.
*Glenn Hills hired Creekside defensive coordinator and former Newton head coach Nick Collins to replace Tim McClain, who was 6-24 in three seasons. Collins was 10-21 in three seasons at Newton (2007-09) but steadily improved. His 2009 team finished 6-5 and earned the program’s first playoff berth in six years. Glenn Hills was 0-10 in 2015 and hasn’t had a winning season since 2008. McClain is now an assistant on Jefferson County’s staff.
*Jordan hired Wheeler County baseball coach and former defensive coordinator Justin Newman to replace Jim Brown, whose teams were 8-32 in four seasons. Newman, a member of Shaw’s 2000 state-championship team, has been an assistant at Shaw, Pacelli, Carver and Schley County. He did not coach football last season while at Wheeler County. Newman got his start in coaching at Shaw in 2008 under his father, Scott Newman.
*Lamar County hired Westlake head coach Bryan Love to replace Jamie Abrams, whose teams were 15-7-1 in two seasons. Love inherited an 0-10 team at Westlake in 2013 and won two Region 3-AAAAAA titles and reached the state quarterfinals in 2015. Love served as defensive coordinator at Camden County (2008-11), McEachern (2003-07) and Spruce Creek in Florida (2000-02). Abrams took a job on Ware County’s staff under Franklin Stephens, for whom he worked at Lamar.
*Temple promoted defensive coordinator Scotty Ward to replace Seth Rogers, who resigned to become an assistant principal at Villa Rica. Ward was Worth County’s coach from 2009 to 2012 and was 20-24. He was on Fitzgerald’s staff the next two seasons. Though Rogers’ record was 21-70, his 2011 team (6-5) achieved the only winning season since the program’s start in 1989.
*South Atlanta hired Stockbridge running backs coach Brad Stephens to replace Kevin Hill, who is now offensive coordinator at Lithia Springs. Stephens, in his 20th season of coaching, got his start at Carrollton under Ben Scott. South Atlanta was 4-26 under Hill.
*Rockmart hired Banks County head coach Biff Parson to replace Bin Turner, who was let go after two seasons and a 5-16 record. Parson was Rockmart’s defensive coordinator in 2007. Parson also has coached at Mary Persons and Lamar County as defensive coordinator. Parson’s teams were 10-20 at Banks County, 5-5 each of the past two seasons. Turner is now defensive coordinator at Griffin.
*Banks County promoted line coach Josh Shoemaker to replace Biff Parson, who took the head-coaching job at Rockmart. This will be Shoemaker’s fourth season at Banks. A Dacula graduate, Shoemaker also coached four seasons at Commerce, one at North Oconee and two at St. Pius. Banks County was 5-5 the past two seasons and 10-20 overall under Parson.
*Oglethorpe County hired Brooks County defensive coordinator Richard Andrews to replace Jimbo Hale, whose teams were 2-17 in two seasons. Andrews spent eight seasons at Brooks County, one at Rabun County and seven at Putnam County as an assistant. Hale is now defensive coordinator at Tiftarea Academy.
Coming Friday: Class A
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