Randy Smith: Coahulla Creek Chooses Grider To Guide Football Program

Hixson's Jason Fitzgerald Was Among 4 Finalists For The Position

Monday, December 09, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

The past few weeks have been especially tough for Dr. Stanley Stewart, the principal of Coahulla Creek High School in north Georgia. In addition to the day to day duties of being responsible for more than a thousand high school students, Dr. Stewart has also headed up a committee to find a new head football coach for the Colts and on Monday night will introduce former South Pittsburg Coach Vic Grider as the school’s new head coach at its annual football banquet.

Just over a year ago, Grider announced his retirement to a huge crowd at South Pittsburg’s annual banquet. Most people, including myself felt his retirement would not last long at all. After all, he is only 47 years old, yet his coaching record looks like he should be a much older man. Sixteen years as a head coach at his alma mater, 162 wins and just 43 losses, (81%), three TSSAA State Championships and ten district or regional titles. 

“All along, Vic Grider was at the top of our list of candidates. To get someone with his record and of his caliber is just fantastic. We have some challenges, but we feel that we have the guy to get things done,” Dr. Stanley Stewart said on Monday morning. Grider was chosen from a list that included more than sixty applicants, including Hixson coach Jason Fitzgerald.

The Hixson coach was one of four finalists for the job, according to a story in Tuesday's Dalton Daily Citizen.

Coahulla Creek is a fairly new high school in Whitfield County. The school opened in 2010 and has grown steadily since opening its doors. The Colts have had just two varsity football seasons, going   2-8 both years. Grider replaces Jared Hamlin who was the school’s first head coach.  

Vic Grider has a great background in football. He played at South Pittsburg for his father, Don Grider. He attended the University of Tennessee and was the Vols’ head manager under Coach Johnny Majors. He was the Pirates’ defensive coordinator on Danny Wilson’s staff when they won the 1994 State Championship. The total of 354 wins by Vic and his father is the most of any father-son combination in Tennessee High School Football history.

When one looks at the storied South Pittsburg program, it is difficult to see just how the Pirates win year after year. They have one of the smallest student bodies in Tennessee, yet, they continue to develop talent. As one coach said, “They never have to rebuild, they just reload.” The Pirates have won more state championships, (five) than any other school in the area. They have also played in more state championship games (12) than any other school, and their total number of playoff wins (71) is 19 more than runner-up Dalton.

Grider plans to finish this school year in his present position of assistant principal and athletic director at South Pittsburg. He will start to build his program next summer. “Right now, I’m going through every emotion possible.” Grider told me today. “I’m anxious, nervous and excited, but now I’m reenergized. Every coach likes a challenge, and I’m looking forward to getting things started.”

More important than all the wins and championships is this fact; Vic Grider cares about the young men he helps to mold as their head football coach. Eddie Moore, a former Pirate and first round NFL draft choice after leaving the University of Tennessee, is now a vice-president at First Volunteer Bank in South Pittsburg. He also has a great relationship with his former coach. “I don’t know any of my friends that are former players that can say their high school coach is one of their best friends. But I can and I can’t thank him enough for that.” 

For Coahulla Creek, the next step in the life of the football program will begin soon; very soon. And with a proven winner like Vic Grider leading the way, they should be in good hands for a long time.

rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).


Zimmerman Hits Walk-Off Grand Slam For Lady Lions Tournament Win

The Bryan College softball team competed against Virginia Intermont College this afternoon in the AAC Tournament.  The Lions are the No. 4 seed in the tournament, while the Cobras are the No. 3 seed in the tournament.  Both teams already had one loss entering the game, making it an elimination game.  The Lions struck first by scoring two runs in the first inning.  ... (click for more)

Covenant Baseball Playing For USA South Regular Season Title

The Covenant baseball team will wrap-up its 2014 regular season schedule this weekend with a crucial three-game USA South series against Averett. Game one of the series is set for Friday at 4 p.m., and the two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. With victories in all three games, Covenant (23-13, 16-8 USA South) will clinch the USA South's regular ... (click for more)

Berke Names Fred Fletcher, Of Austin, Tex., New Chattanooga Police Chief

Mayor Andy Berke announced Thursday that Fred Fletcher of Austin, Tex., is his pick for Chattanooga Chief of Police. With 20 years of experience in law enforcement, Mr. Fletcher has served in an executive, command, or supervisory role for 12 years.  As commander in Region III of the Austin Police Department, Mr. Fletcher spearheaded community initiatives including a drug market ... (click for more)

Child, 23 Months, Found Dead In Crib With Fentanyl Patch On Back; Death Ruled Homicide

A 23-month-old Chattanooga boy has been found dead in his crib with a Fentanyl patch on his back. The death of Demarcus Bryant at 7655 Borris Dr. last month was ruled a homicide. An autopsy report says he died from "Fentanyl patch placed by someone else." Chattanooga Police are investigating. No one has yet been charged. The child was found face down in his crib. ... (click for more)

A Slap In The Face To Local Police Applicants

Little Andy has once again shown what he thinks about the Chattanooga Police Department by ignoring all the applicants from within the department. There were several great candidates within the police department that had as much experience as the chosen one from 1,000 miles away. This is a slap in the face for any officer who is at the Chattanooga Police Department who has aspirations ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UAW Voices In Detroit

Today we are going to eavesdrop on somewhat of an open conversation that was held far to the north after the United Auto Workers surprisingly dropped a legal challenge with the National Labor Relations Board in Chattanooga the first thing on Monday morning. The NLRB judge certified the VW workers’ February vote to turn away the UAW at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen manufacturing plant ... (click for more)