With Spring Practice kicking off in a lot of places around the Charlotte Metro, let’s take a look at some new coaches that will be leading some area teams this year!
Olympic - Newly named Head Coach Brandon Thompson has been with the Trojans since 2014, having success as their Head JV Coach and coaching the Wide Receivers. Thompson has coaching experience at Hampton University, and is from the Virginia Beach area originally. He will have several All-Conference linemen such as 1st team All-Conference OL Tavien Ford returning to help the Trojans make a push for the playoffs this season.
Harding - After taking over in the middle of the season last year, Van Smith will lead the Rams full time starting this upcoming season. The Rams still have talent left from their State Championship Team in OLB/SS Maliek Faust, DL Tylon Dunlap, and RB Dekerius Thompson, and expect them to be a better team overall this upcoming season as Smith has brought in a new offensive coordinator in LJ Johnson formerly of Butler and also Harding’s head basketball coach.
Ardrey Kell - With former head coach Kyle Brey taking the IMG Academy varsity head coaching job in Florida, the Knights chose to remain in house for their next head coach, promoting Greg Jachym from Defensive Coordinator to Head Coach. The Knights won a share of the conference title last year, and hope to build on that success with guys like Cedric Gray back in the fold, who recently committed to UNC Chapel Hill.
West Meck - The Hawks experienced some great success under former head coach Jarvis Davis, making the State Quarterfinals last season. With Davis leaving to take a position in South Carolina, the school decided to promote from within, naming Nick Mata as their new head coach. Mata has been the Hawks Offensive Coordinator the past few years, and will still have some talent coming up such as All-Conference ATH J’mari Taylor who can play all over the field.
Cuthbertson - Former head coach David Johnson resigned his position in January, opening the door for Trey Kavanaugh to take over. Kavanaugh comes over from Ardrey Kell, where he was their offensive coordinator and worked with skill position players. Kavanaugh is a young, energetic coach who will have a young roster to mold in his vision coming up this season.
Piedmont - Former head coach Luke Hyatt resigned his position in November, and the Panthers stayed in the county for their next head coach, Jon Castator. Castator comes over well regarded from Porter Ridge, where he helped craft an offense than led the Pirates to the state semifinals last season. Expect Castator to lean on Connor Purser offensively who had over 1200 yards rushing last year with 13 TDs.
Central Academy - After a year of playing JV only football, Central hired Drew Hackett to lead its football program. Hackett most recently led Bishop Mcguiness the last two years, winning their first playoff game in school history last season. Hackett has experience in the area, previously coaching both at Hough and at West Charlotte.
East Gaston - Longtime head coach Sean Joyce resigned in November, and the Warriors decided to bring on Jason Lippard as their new head coach. Lippard most recently coached at Statesville as an assistant coach, and has been a head coach at North Stokes, Brevard, and Northeast Guilford previously.
Lake Norman Charter - Former head coach Mark Steele will remain on staff, as the program welcomes back former head coach Bob McKay for a 2nd stint at LNC. McKay had some big-time success in 2012, going 10-2 at the school and is hoping to replicate that success once again.
Pine Lake Prep - New head coach Austin Trotter takes over for Brett Hayford, also the school’s AD, decided to step down. Trotter has coached at Northside Christian, Lake Norman, and North Mecklenburg previously, and will look to open up the offense a bit as Pine Lake was previously more of a Wing-T style of offense.