0

North Clayton searching for new football coach

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

North Clayton is searching for a new football coach with current coach Rodney Hackney expected to be named to the same position at Washington High in Atlanta.

Hackney is awaiting approval from the Atlanta Public School System, but the North Clayton job opening has already been posted on a job website. When reached by text on Thursday, Hackney declined comment on the move.

This would be Hackney's second stint in the Atlanta system. In 2005, Hackney led his alma mater Mays High to an 8-3 record before leaving for Lithonia High in DeKalb County.

During his three-year tenure at North Clayton, the Clark Atlanta University graduate compiled a 29-7 record and led the Eagles to three straight playoff appearances.

At North Clayton, he sent several players on to the college ranks, including Clayton News Daily players of the year Clarence Jackson (Ole Miss) and Amarlo Herrera (Georgia).

In 10 seasons as a head coach, Hackney has compiled a 55-56 record and been to the playoffs seven times.

"He (Hackney) changed the way we did things," said Herrera, a former all-state linebacker. "We got closer as a team under him."

Defensive coordinator Max Wiltz, who is a leading candidate to replace

Hackney, has been running spring practice the last two weeks. North Clayton will hold its annual spring game today at the school.

North Clayton co-athletics director Martisse Troup said the school is hoping to name a coach by next week.

"We want to name someone before school gets out because they start their summer program," Troup said.

Herrera is endorsing Wiltz for the job.

"He would be a good choice," said Herrera, who had 155 tackles this past season.

Hackney will inherit a Washington program that is similar to the one he is leaving. The school has produced several Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Div I-A) caliber players. The Bulldogs have missed the postseason the last two seasons.

The job came open when coach Stanley Pritchett, a former running back with the Atlanta Falcons, resigned to take the job at North Atlanta.

This upcoming season, the team will feature standout running back Justin Taylor, a 5-11, 215-pounder, who has already committed to SEC power Alabama. Last season, Taylor rushed for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games. He also had 15 catches for 150 yards.

North Clayton is the third football opening in Clayton County since the end of the 2010 season. Riverdale had to replace Nick Davis, who left to take a similar position at Spalding.

The Raiders named Carver-Columbus defensive coordinator Olten Downs to the position in February. Forest Park is expected to name a new coach next month when teaching contracts become available.