Salem’s Laws one of eight new coaches in Class AAAA

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

(Jason Getz / AJC)

(Jason Getz / AJC)

GHSF Daily is chronicling the many coaching changes in the offseason. We continue today with Class AAAA.

Number of hires: 8

Best hire: Jarrett Laws, Salem

Hardest to replace: Rico Zackery, Central (Carrollton)

Best job: Carver (Columbus)

Toughest job: Druid Hills

Most interesting: Carver of Columbus averaged 12 victories from 2006 to 2013, all while playing in classes AAA and AA. Then Muscogee County schools encouraged Carver to play up two classes the past two years so that the county’s four biggest schools could be in the same region. Carver went 8-3 and 9-2. Not bad, but apparently not good enough to keep coach Joe Kegler’s job. Kegler had replaced ultra-successful Dell McGee in 2013. In January, Carver hired former Alabama State head coach Reggie Barlow, but Barlow bolted in less than a month and took a job with alma mater Sidney Lanier in Montgomery, Ala. Carver then settled on Dre’Mail King, its offensive coordinator, in May.

Region 1

*Carver of Columbus promoted offensive coordinator and receivers coach Dre’Mail King to succeed Joe Kegler, who was let go despite a 28-7 record over three seasons. King was head coach for one season (2013) at Central High in York, Ala., and was an assistant at his alma mater Tuscaloosa Central (2010-12) and at Meadowcreek (2004) in Georgia. Kegler is now assistant head coach at Stewart County.

*Hardaway hired Jordan offensive/defensive coordinator Michael Woolridge, a Hardaway alumnus, to replace Jeff Battles, who became the Muscogee County school system’s athletics director. Woolridge worked on Battles’ staff from 2008 to 2010 at Hardaway. He has coached at McIntosh and Harris County. Hardaway under Battles was 23-58. Wooldridge played on Hardaway’s 10-2 team of 1998, the school’s last to win a playoff game.

Region 4

*Druid Hills promoted JV coach Myron Burton to replace Mark Adams, who took the Cross Keys job. Burton has coached at Druid Hills since 2007, for a time as defensive coordinator. Druid Hills finished 4-6 each of the past six seasons.

*North Clayton hired Jonesboro assistant Cap Burnett, an alumnus and former Georgia player, to replace James Soza, who was 8-22 in three seasons. Burnett was an all-state player at North Clayton in 1996 and played at Georgia until forced to give up football for medical reasons. He got into high school coaching under Don Shockley, his high school coach, and had been at Jonesboro the past few seasons. Soza took a teaching job in Los Angeles.

*Salem hired former Griffin coach Jarrett Laws to replace John Starr, who became head coach at The Howard School in Chattanooga. Laws, let go as Griffin’s coach despite a 17-6 record in two seasons, had been hired at Our Lady of Mercy as Mike Earwood’s successor but changed course and took the Salem job in June. Laws also has been head coach at Drew (2009-13) and Mount Zion (2007-08) in Clayton County.

Region 5

*Central of Carroll County hired Elbert County offensive coordinator Larry Kesler to replace Rico Zackery, who took a job as director of recruiting at Georgia Southern. Kesler, a former Elbert County quarterback, also has coached at Northwest Whitfield and Villa Rica. Central was 30-6 under Zackery, by far the school’s best three-year run since its state championship teams in 1986 and 1987.

Region 6

*Gilmer hired former North Forsyth and Dutchtown coach Jason Galt to replace Zach Grage, who took the head-coaching job at Thomasville. Galt was 36-27 in six seasons at Dutchtown and led the school to an 11-2 finish in 2010. He was 10-21 in three seasons at North Forsyth. He led the Raiders to the playoffs in 2013. A California native and former Georgia player, Galt has been an assistant at Cedar Shoals (1995), Clarke Central (1996-98), Cartersville (1999), Liberty County (2002-04) and Carrollton (2005-06).

Region 7

*Chestatee hired Peachtree Ridge quarterbacks coach Shaun Conley to replace Bill Forman, who resigned after an 0-10 finish in 2015 and is now an assistant at Lumpkin County. Conley was at Peachtree Ridge the past two seasons but is most associated with the Flowery Branch program, where he began when the school opened in 2002 and was part of six 10-win seasons, mostly helping run the offense under Lee Shaw.

Coming Tuesday: Class AAA

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