Decatur High's new football coach said Tuesday night that an important step in rebuilding the program is restarting the middle school and youth football programs in Decatur.
Brad Waggoner, 37, has been head coach at Chattooga High in Summerville since 2009. He accepted the Decatur job Tuesday, Decatur High Athletic Director Carter Wilson said.
Waggoner said in a telephone interview Tuesday night that developing talent for Decatur High is crucial, which is why he'll revive the Renfroe Middle School football program started next season. It was eliminated a few years ago in a cost-cutting measure.
"I want to win every game, but I'm not here for a quick fix," Waggoner said. "We've got to build that middle school program and there will be a middle school team starting next year."
He also wants to restart a youth football program, "which means starting in the third grade you can become a Decatur Bulldog. That means by the time you reach middle school you're used to being a Bulldog and that way you won't lose kids."
Waggoner said he'll meet the Decatur High team next Monday and a week after that begin an off-season training program. The team will have a 10-day spring practice in May.
He'll keep teaching at Chattooga High and make the 95-mile trip to Decatur for training.
Waggoner was also a head coach in Pike County, Ala., and Luverne, Ala.
A Summerville News story in January 2009 said Waggoner led Luverne to three playoff appearances and two region championships in three seasons. His overall record there was 25-11.
His best two seasons were 11-2 at Luverne in 2006 and 9-2 at Chattooga in 2009. He said his overall record is 54-33 and that he's taken teams to the playoffs six of eight years as a head coach.
He was 5-5 last season at Chattooga, which plays in the north 7-AA region of Georgia.
The native of Fayetteville, Ga., played high school ball at Landmark Christian Academy under coach Bill Thorn. Besides being a coach, Thorn is known for having run every Peachtree Road Road.
Waggoner played two years at Georgia Tech and two years at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., graduating in 1997 with three degrees -- a bachelor's in sport management, a bachelor's in special ed and a master's in higher education administration.
His wife is Mary Beth Waggoner, and they have a five-month old son, Brad Jr.
Wilson, the DHS athletic director, said 107 people applied for the coaching job. Waggoner replaces Price Jones, who resigned in December. In four years Jones went 18-23 (.439 winning percentage) including his only winning season of 6-4 in 2010. The Bulldogs were 4-6 last season.
Waggoner said he'll emphasize defense at Decatur High.
"My philosophy is to win on defense," he said. "There will be nights when you struggle offensively so you have to be sound defensively to give your team a chance to win."
He said offense must be built around a strong running game. "You can't win unless you run the football," he said.
Waggoner summarized his background in a March 2009 question-and-answer interview with Georgia Varsity Sports Vent shortly after taking the Chattooga job.
I played high school ball at Landmark Christian and played college ball at Georgia Tech. I got my college coaching career started at VMI as a GA, left there and went onto the University of Alabama and was a GA there for 2 years. I was then hired at my first full time position at University of West Alabama. After a few college stops I got back into high school and was on the Sandy Creek staff under Rodney Walker for 3 seasons. I was a defensive coordinator at Fayette county high school for one season. I got my first head coaching job at a school down in Daytona Beach Fla where we made the playoffs. I then replaced Mike Dubose at Luverne high school in Alabama. We won the region 2 out of 3 years I was there and our 2006 team went to the quarterfinals. From there I went to Pike County high school in Alabama where we got beat in the playoffs by Luverne.