Grayson’s Herron among eight new coaches in AAAAAAA

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

Jeff Herron

Coach Jeff Herron comes to Grayson from Prince Avenue Christian. He won state championships at Oconee County and CamdenCounty.

Over the next several days, GHSF Daily will chronicle the many coaching changes in the offseason. We begin with Class AAAAAAA.

Number of hires: 8

Best hire: Richard Morgan, Marietta

Hardest to replace: Mickey Conn, Grayson

Best job: Grayson

Toughest job: Rockdale County

Most interesting: Mickey Conn’s decision to join Clemson’s support staff, and the hiring of four-time state-champion Jeff Herron to replace him, made national news. But it’s becoming more common for prominent coaches to jump to college, and it’s no surprise that Grayson, a state power, would hire a big-name coach. More remarkable was middle-of-the-road Marietta’s hiring of Richard Morgan, who made Oscar Smith of Chesapeake, Va., a nationally renowned program with a pair of state titles and five ESPN appearances.

Region 2

*Westlake hired Coconut Creek (Fla.) head coach Kareem Reid to replace Bryan Love, who surprisingly left the highest classification for Class AA Lamar County. Reid’s Coconut Creek teams were 16-14 and did not have a losing season in three years at a school that had gone 1-19 over the previous two campaigns. A former defensive lineman at Kentucky and Central Florida, Reid had been an assistant in Georgia at Cedar Grove and Pebblebrook from 2009 through 2012. Just three years after an 0-10 finish, Westlake reached the Class AAAAAA quarterfinals last season under Love.

Region 3

*Marietta hired Richard Morgan, who won two state championships in Virginia, to replace Scott Burton, who resigned after six seasons and a 31-34 record. Morgan’s record in 14 seasons at Oscar Smith High in Chesapeake, Va., was 164-20, and more than 100 players went on to college football. His teams won state championships in 2008 and 2011 and finished 13-1 last season, losing in the Group 6A state championship game in three overtimes. Oscar Smith played on ESPN-televised games five times under Morgan. Burton has left coaching for a job in the private sector.

Region 5

*Forsyth Central hired Discovery head coach Frank Hepler to replace Shane Williamson, who became head coach at Lumpkin County. Hepler is best known for building West Forsyth’s program, which had a 51-18 record under Helpler from 2007 to 2013. Hepler, 189-56 overall as a head coach, took a job in his native Florida during the 2014 season to be closer to family but did not sell his Forsyth County home and ultimately moved back into it. Discovery, a new Gwinnett County school, played a JV schedule last season under Hepler. Forsyth Central was 12-18 in three seasons under Williamson, 4-6 in 2015.

*North Forsyth hired North Florida Christian head coach Robert Craft to replace Jason Galt, who became head coach at Gilmer. North Florida Christian, a Tallahassee school that is Craft’s alma mater, was 49-21 under Craft and won a state championship in 2011. Craft was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Colquitt County from 2005 through 2009. North Forsyth was 10-21 in Galt’s three seasons, 2-8 in 2015.

Region 6

*Discovery, the newest high school in Gwinnett County, promoted receivers coach and former NFL player Efrem Hill to replace Frank Hepler, who took the Forsyth Central job. Hill, a North Springs alumnus, played 10 seasons as a receiver in the NFL, CFL and Arena League. He was on Berkmar’s staff for three seasons. Discovery, which relieved Berkmar, Central Gwinnett and Meadowcreek, will play its first varsity schedule this year.

*Lakeside of DeKalb County hired Norcross freshman coach Richard “Cam” Jones to replace Heath Hinton, whose teams were 9-22 in three seasons and made the playoffs in 2015 for the first time in 18 years. Jones began high school coaching in 2007 and worked at his alma mater Porter Ridge in North Carolina and at Jefferson and Chamberlain high schools in Florida, typically on the offensive side. Jones came to Georgia in 2015 and also coached Norcross’s track-and-field teams. Hinton is now on the football staff at Franklin County.

Region 8

*Grayson hired Prince Avenue Christian coach Jeff Herron to replace Mickey Conn, who joined the support staff of Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Conn’s former Alabama football roommate. Herron’s 26-year record as a head coach is 273-51, including a 31-6 mark at Class A Prince Avenue. He won state titles at Oconee County (1999) and Camden County (2003, 2008, 2009). Conn started the Grayson program in 2000, and his record was 137-48. Grayson was 13-1 in 2015.

*Rockdale County hired Mundy’s Mill head coach Greg Manior to replace Venson Elder, who was 16-26 in four seasons (2-8 in 2015) and remained at the school as track-and-field coach. Manior has been a head coach for 12 seasons in Georgia with stops at Screven County, South Effingham and Savannah. His record is 58-67. His Mundy’s Mill team reached the Class AAAAA quarterfinals in 2013.

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