A new coach offers a team a fresh start and a new way of looking at certain aspects of the game, but a sense of security can also evaporate when a new coach is hired.
Whether a team is coming off a state championship season or a 0-10 season, getting accustomed to a new coach can be tough.
Five programs in the DeKalb Neighbor coverage area are breaking in brand new coaches this season.
Tucker won the Class AAAA state championship last season, its second title in four years. Coach Franklin Stephens left in the offseason for Lamar County.
Bryan Lamar, Tucker’s defensive coordinator for the 2008 state title, takes over for Stephens. This is his first football head coaching job.
“It is an honor to come back home,” he said. “It is very exciting to be the head coach of a championship program.”
Lamar said knowing all the players from his previous time as a coordinator has helped make the transition smooth.
“These guys know my work ethic, so it was not that tough of a sell,” Lamar said. “It has been a process, but it has not been as tough a process had I been totally unfamiliar with the team.”
New Lakeside head coach Mike Rozier has had the opposite experience. Lakeside was 0-10 last season and Rozier was new to the program.
Lakeside has three state championships, but has had one winning season since Phil Lindsey left in 1997 with a 134-44-2 career record there.
Rozier said he has the players and the community believing what he is saying. Rozier has been emphasizing what Lakeside has done in the history of the program and not just the past 15 years or so.
“Any time you go 0-10, you are looking for someone to come in and make some changes,” Rozier said. “They have been buying in. I have been there a short time, but we have been working the kids hard.”
Rozier said his team is in great football shape, but there is one aspect that needs work.
“I am not worried about the Xs and Os aspect, but I am worried about the mental aspect,” he said. “We need to have them getting off the bus believing they can compete and win instead of just showing up and believing they will lose another one."
Decatur hired Brad Waggoner in the offseason to take over for Price Jones. Redan stayed in-house with track coach Willie Griffieth taking over for Clint Lawrence. Chamblee hired former graduate Allen Johnson to take over for James Soza.