Valdosta’s Rodemaker headlines seven new coaches in AAAAAA
GHSF Daily is chronicling the many coaching changes in the offseason. We continue today with Class AAAAAA.
Number of hires: 7
Best hire: Alan Rodemaker, Valdosta
Hardest to replace: Rance Gillespie, Valdosta
Best job: Valdosta
Toughest job: Alcovy
Most interesting: Alan Rodemaker becomes the fifth Valdosta coach since the Nick Hyder era (1974-95). Rance Gillespie returned whence he came, to Georgia Southern, where he’ll be co-offensive coordinator. For the first time since 1957, Valdosta will play in a classification below the highest, seeking its first state championship since 1998.
*Valdosta promoted defensive coordinator Alan Rodemaker to replace Rance Gillespie, who resigned to become co-offensive coordinator at Georgia Southern. Rodemaker was Valdosta’s defensive coordinator for five seasons. Rodemaker was head coach at Peach County (1999-2000), and his teams were 15-8. Coincidentally, he was replaced at Peach by Gillespie. Rodemaker got out of coaching and worked in the private sector in his native North Carolina for eight years. He returned to football in 2009 as an assistant at Byrnes (S.C.) and joined Gillespie’s staff a year later. Valdosta was 49-20 in Gillespie’s six seasons, 8-4 in 2015.
*Alcovy promoted defensive line coach Chris Edgar to replace program founder Kirk Hoffman, who retired. Edgar, a member of Hoffman’s staff from the start, previously assisted at Chamblee and Blessed Trinity. Hoffman, whose Alcovy record was 33-71, led the Tigers to four playoff appearances in his last seven seasons, but Alcovy was 1-19 over the final two.
*Grovetown promoted defensive coordinator Damien Postell to replace Rodney Holder, who started the program in 2009 and was 29-41 in seven seasons. Postell, on Holder’s staff the past three seasons, is a former Auburn running back (1998-2001) who starred at Baldwin (Fla.) High near Jacksonville. Grovetown is 29-41 in its six seasons, 5-5 in 2015. Holder, still an elementary school teacher in the school system, is coaching his kids in Pop Warner ball and says he’ll continue doing the field maintenance for home games.
*Heritage of Rockdale County hired Jackson assistant and former Georgia all-SEC defensive back Corey Johnson to replace Wendell Early, whose record was 4-16 in two seasons. Johnson was head boys basketball coach at Jackson. He also had been a football assistant at Greene County with former Georgia teammate Robert Edwards. Early is now on the staff at Peachtree Ridge.
*Mundy’s Mill promoted defensive coordinator Dwayne Davis to replace Greg Manior, who took the Rockdale County job. Davis had worked with Manior at South Effingham also. Davis coached for nine seasons as an assistant at alma mater Swainsboro. Mundy’s Mill was 24-20 in four seasons under Manior.
*Douglas County hired Hughes assistant Johnny White to replace Jason Respert, whose record was 12-29 in four seasons. White was head coach at Creekside for three seasons (2009-11) and compiled a 19-12 record there. Respert is now the offensive coordinator at West Laurens.
*New Manchester promoted defensive coordinator Myron Terry to replace Rob Cleveland, who started the Jaguars’ program in 2011 and retired after 28 years on football sidelines. Terry, a former defensive back at Colorado State, came to New Manchester when it opened in 2012 and coached football, basketball and track coach at Factory Shoals Middle School for four years prior. He was defensive coordinator at Fairfax High in Los Angeles for seven years. Manchester’s five-year record is 21-22.
Coming Friday: Class AAAAA
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