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Football season is nearly upon us, so as we hit “Dead Week” we take a look at those who will be at the helm of each local football program, and their respective pedigrees.

In order from longest tenure in GHSA to lowest

Sid Maxwell – Dawson County Tigers

24 Seasons // 4th Year at Dawson Co

Maxwell enters year four at Dawson County and 24th season overall as a head coach.

Total Record: 152-94

2017: 8-4 (5-1 7-AAA); 2nd Round

All Stops (3)
Dawson Co: 24-11 (2015-Present [3 years])
Lambert: 31-16 (2009-13 [5 years])
Sequoyah: 97-67 (1994-2008 [15 years])

Playoffs: 14 Appearances (9-14); 2 Quarterfinals Runs [’04, ’15]

Region Titles: 2 [2015; 2003]

All-State Players: 7

Outlook: Maxwell’s demeanor feels like he’s nowhere close to growing tired of coaching. He’s extremely knowledgeable, even-keel and loves his players. Maxwell’s 152 wins puts him 23rd among all active coaches in the state. His legacy is cemented as one of the top coaches in Georgia.


Brian Allison – Union Co Panthers

23 Seasons // 17th Year at Union Co

Allison enters year 17 at Union County and 23 overall.

Total Record: 123-103

2017: 6-4 (2-4 7-AAA)

All Stops (2)
Union Co: 98-67 (1996-01; 2009-Present [17 years])
Winder Barrow: 25-36 (2002-07 [6 years])

Playoffs: 6 Appearances (0-6)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 4

Outlook: This has to be the greatest coach not to win a playoff game. He’s long overdue and just has hit some bad luck in previous playoff trips. Bumping back down to Class 2A from a two-year stop in AAA should show how much tougher this program has gotten. He loses a second straight D-I quarterback (Joseph Mancuso in ’16, Cole Wright in ’18) but lookout for the next great weapon, his son Pierson Allison.


Lee Shaw – Rabun Co Wildcats

22 Seasons // 7th Year at Rabun Co

Shaw enters his 7th season at Rabun County and 22nd overall as a head coach.

Total Record: 152-92

2017: 14-1 (6-0 8-AA); State Championship Game Appearance

All Stops (3)
Rabun Co: 59-15 (2012-Present [6 years])
Flowery Branch: 79-41 (2002-11 [10 years])
White Co: 14-36 (1995-99 [5 years])

Playoffs: 13 Appearances (22-13); 7 Quarterfinals Runs [’05, ’08, ’09, ’11, ’15, ’16, ’17]; 3 Semifinal Runs [’08, ’09, ’17]; 2 State Championship Games [’08, ’17]

Region Titles: 5 [2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011]

All-State Players: 18

Outlook: Shaw’s a legendary coach who has nothing to prove. He’s successfully built two programs into state powerhouses in Flowery Branch and Rabun County. He came home to Rabun, where he played high school ball, seven seasons ago and he’s still got the itch each season to piece together a group and develop boys into men and give them a lifetime family. A one-of-a-kind coach, Shaw’s 152 wins (tied with Maxwell above) ranks 23rd among all active coaches. He always gets the most out of his players, and it’s easy for them to buy in for a guy like this.


Shane Williamson – Lumpkin Co Indians

17 Seasons // 3rd Year at Lumpkin Co

Williamson enters his third year at Lumpkin and 17th overall as a head coach.

Total Record: 83-86

2017: 1-9 (1-5 7-AAA)

All Stops (4)
Lumpkin Co: 5-15 (2016-Present [2 years])
Forsyth Central: 12-18 (2013-15 [3 years])
Toombs Co: 24-29 (2008-12 [5 years])
Swainsboro: 42-24 (2002-07 [6 years])

Playoffs: 6 Appearances (5-6); 2 Quarterfinal Runs [’03, ’08]

Region Titles: 2 [2007, 2003]

All-State Players: 12

Outlook: Williamson has had a dozen all-state players in his 17 seasons. He’s a veteran head coach who knows how to win. He’s looking to break through in his third year with Lumpkin, as this is officially now “his guys” as he’s had three years to pour into them.

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Tim Cokely – White Co Warriors

11 Seasons in GA (24 Overall) // 2nd Year at White Co

Cokely’s pedigree goes well beyond GHSA, as he’s coached out of states for more than 20 seasons overall, 11 in Georgia and goes into year two at White County.

Total Record: 38-27 in GA; 160-74 *incomplete FL records

2017: 7-4 (2-2 7-AAAA); 1st Round

All Stops (6)
White Co: 7-4 (2017-Present [1 year])
Leon (FL): 20-23 (2013-16 [4 years])
Marianna (FL): 8-2 (2012 [1 year])
Greater Atlanta Christian: 17-5 (2010-11 [1 year])
North Florida Christian (FL): 94-22 (1995-2004; 2008-09 [12 years])
Colquitt Co: 14-18 (2005-07 [3 years])

Playoffs: 3 Appearances [15 Overall] (2-3); 10 Quarterfinals runs in FL [’95, ’96, ’97, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’03, ’04, ’08]; 7 State Championship Games [’95, ’96, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’08]; 6 State Titles in FL [’96, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’08]

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 1

Outlook: Cokely, much like Maxwell and Shaw, is a veteran coach, and his six state championships, while in another state, make him a perfect leader at White County. He turned a 1-9 program into a 7-4 solid playoff team in just months after taking over. He’s that good!


Wesley Tankersley – Stephens Co Indians

11 Seasons // 1st Year at Stephens Co

Tankersley has a great track record in 10 complete seasons as he takes over the Indians program from legendary coach Frank Barden.

Total Record: 65-44

2017: 11-1 (6-0 6-AAAA); 2nd Round

All Stops (3)
Stephens Co: 0-0 (2018-Present [0 years])
Ridgeland: 24-10 (2015-17 [3 years])
Gilmer: 41-34 (2008-14 [7 years])

Playoffs: 7 Appearances (3-7)

Region Titles: 2 [2017, 2016]

All-State Players: 4

Outlook: Tankersley has a chance to make this Stephens County program his own. It’s not lacking a winning culture by any means, but a fresh approach can re-establish the Indians into a deep playoff contender. They have pieces to fill with a load of skill positions once held by last year’s seniors, but don’t think this team can’t compete right away – the roster is loaded with raw talent.


Gene Cathcart – Jefferson Dragons

8 Seasons in GA (11 Overall) // 2nd Year at Jefferson

Cathcart, in his first year as a GHSA head coach since 2008, drove the Dragons to the quarterfinals. He’s entering his eighth year as a head coach in GA (14 overall) and second year as Jefferson’s head coach.

Total Record: 38-27 in GA; 117-45 overall

2017: 10-3 (4-1 8-AAAA); Quarterfinals

All Stops (4)
Jefferson: 10-3 (2017-Present [1 year])
Seneca (SC): 9-3 (2014 [1 year])
Greenwood (SC): 58-12 (2009-13 [5 years])
Habersham Central: 40-27 (2003-08 [6 years])

Playoffs: 4 Appearances [10 Overall] (6-4); 7 Quarterfinals runs in GA & SC [’06, ’07, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’17]; 3 State Championship Appearances [’10, ’11, ’12]; 1 State Title [’12]

Region Titles: 2 [2007, 2006]

All-State Players: 8

Outlook: Cathcart has bounced around, but Jefferson is a great landing spot for one with an offensive mind like his. The Dragons have no shortage of talent, including a 4-star tight end Garmon Randolph. Could this be his longest stop in his career? It’s a great set-up and a chance for him to coach for years to come and climb the wins chart.


Benji Harrison – Habersham Raiders

7 Seasons // 4th Year at Habersham

Harrison enters his seventh season overall, and fourth at Habersham Central.

Total Record: 20-42

2017: 2-8 (1-4 8-AAAAAA)

All Stops (2)
Habersham Central: 8-22 (2015-Present [3 years])
Jackson Co: 12-20 (2012-14 [3 years])

Playoffs: 2 Appearances (0-2)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 1

Outlook: Harrison has his first full class coming through Hab Central, but will feature his third quarterback in as many years. He’s a player’s coach; the guys buy in easy, as he is a man of great faith who wants more than anything for his players to be winners off the field even moreso than on.


Michael Brown – Commerce Tigers

6 Seasons // 6th Year at Commerce

Brown enters his sixth season as a head coach at his alma mater.

Total Record: 43-17

2017: 8-3 (7-2 8-A)

All Stops (1)
Commerce: 43-17 (2013-Present [5 years])

Playoffs: 5 Appearances (9-5)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 6

Outlook: It got scary when Brown considered leaving this past off-season, but things changed and he stayed put. That’s great for Commerce, one of Georgia’s most historic programs. The playoff streak continues and will continue to motor through with Brown at the helm.


John Cornett – Towns Co Indians

3 Seasons // 3rd Year at Towns Co

Cornett enters year three as a head coach, all at Towns County.

Total Record: 8-13

2017: 5-6 (4-5 8-A); 1st Round

All Stops (1)
Towns Co: 8-13 (2016-Present [2 years])

Playoffs: 1 Appearances (0-1)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 0

Outlook: Cornett is on the rise. He led the Indians to their first-ever playoff trip last season, so look for the guys to continue to buy in and build off that foundation.


Jay Reid – Banks Co Leopards

1 Season // 1st Year at Banks Co

This is Reid’s first shot as head coach.

Total Record: 0-0

2017: N/A

All Stops (1)
Banks Co: 0-0 (2018-Present [0 years])

Playoffs: 0

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 0

Outlook: Reid has some talent to work with right out of the gate, but he came in late after the sudden departure of Chad Cheatham, who took the job in December and then left unexpectedly within months. Reid will face the challenge of a first-year coach, while also getting the guys to buy in. This could still be a playoff team.

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