Three of the county’s four new head coaches – Don Williams (Forest Park), Ervin Starr (Mt. Zion) and Greg Manior (Mundy’s Mill) — were all introduced and spoke generally about making this season more memorable than the 2011 campaign.
“We are all about working hard and making a name for Forest Park like in the old days,” Williams said.
“We have to change the attitude and work ethic,” said Starr, who has 10 years of coaching experience at the high school level.
The Panthers and Bulldogs had a combined record of 4-16 under Edmund Coley and Jamie Aull, respectively, while Mundy’s Mill finished with a 2-8 mark under Peniel Dany.
“The guys came in hungry,” Manior said. “They are so eager to turn everything around and forget about what the records were in the past.”
Leroy Foster, the new coach at Morrow, was unable to attend. Last year, the Mustangs lost all 10 games under Jay Livingston.
The other common topic for each coach was the reclassification of the GHSA schools and realignment of regions.
Morrow will compete in sub-region 2B-AAAAAA along with Lovejoy. Forest Park, Mt. Zion and Mundy’s Mill will all battle in sub-region 4A-AAAAA and also face Drew for the first time.
Jonesboro, North Clayton and Riverdale are still part of Region 4-AAAA but its now subdivided with Griffin, Upson-Lee, Spalding, Eagles Landing, Stockbridge, Dutchtown, Woodland-Henry and Locust Grove in the mix.
“With Stockbridge and Dutchtown, I think it’s one of the toughest 4A regions in the state,” Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd said. “It’s going to be a battle every week.”
“We have about six teams in the region that made the playoffs last year, so we’re going to have a very competitive region and schedule,” Riverdale coach Olten Downs said. “We just want to make sure we are on our ball game each and every week.”
One of those playoff teams was the North Clayton Eagles, who finished 7-4 but are expected to go further this season.
Our goal every year is to make the playoffs but our challenge is to get past rounds one and two,” North Clayton coach Max Wiltz said. “Our kids got to get out of the mode of being complacent. They have to stop being satisfied with just getting in. We got to want to push towards the championship.”