By Devin Golden
Chad Jordan is leaving Dalton High School, but he isn’t leaving Dalton.
Formerly an assistant coach for football and the head coach for boys golf for the Catamounts, Jordan has moved on to Christian Heritage School, where he’ll assist with varsity football and add an administrative position to his duties with the Lions.
“I’ve just been given an opportunity to work as an assistant athletic director over there,” said Jordan, whose role will be to act as athletic director for Christian Heritage’s middle school sports teams. “It’s a really good opportunity.”
Jordan was part of Dalton’s football staff for the past 16 seasons, serving as an offensive line coach throughout his tenure and as an offensive coordinator for a portion of it. This past season, Dalton finished 8-4 and advanced to the second round of the Georgia High School Association Class 4A state playoffs after earning the program’s first postseason victory since 2005 and its first postseason win on the road since 1991.
Jordan had coached the Cats’ golf team since 2001 and led the team to the 2004 state title, the most recent of eight state championships won by the program. Dalton won eight region titles under Jordan’s direction, including this past season, when the Cats won Region 7-4A before finishing seventh in the Class 4A state tournament at the Dalton Golf & Country Club.
“Chad was just a tremendous coach for us on the football field, in the weight room and also as a golf coach,” Dalton football head coach Matt Land said. “He was just a good coach, and I’m sure he will go on to achieve a lot of great things in the future. It’ll be a great opportunity for him.”
On Christian Heritage’s football staff, Jordan will once again help on the offensive line. Christian Heritage finished 5-5 in 2012, its first season in the GHSA after previously competing in the Glory For Christ Football League. Doug Davis, who served as the Lions’ offensive line coach last season, will become the head coach of Christian Heritage’s middle school team and continue assisting with the high school team — he’ll help Jordan with the offensive line — said Preston Poag, Christian Heritage’s athletic director and head football coach.
Poag was an assistant football coach at Dalton, his alma mater, from 2000 to 2002. The Cats reached the Class 4A state title game in 2001.
“Me and Chad coached together at Dalton,” Poag said. “He’s just a great offensive line coach, a good technician and teaches good fundamentals. ... He brings a lot of experience with him. We’re excited to have him.”
Poag said the position of assistant athletic director is a new one at Christian Heritage. Poag and Chad Woodson served as co-athletic directors during the 2011-2012 school year. Woodson, formerly the sole athletic director before Poag was hired as football coach prior to the 2011 season, was also the Lions’ head basketball coach from 2007-2008 to 2011-2012. He lost his job at Christian Heritage due to budget cuts after the 2011-2012 school year, and Poag was the sole athletic director this past school year.
Although excited about the new job, Jordan also reflected fondly on his time at Dalton.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Dalton High School, the relationships I’ve formed there and the faculty, staff and students I’ve been around for the last 16 years,” he said. “It’s a great place.”
The Cats have filled Jordan’s slot on the football staff. Replacing him as an offensive line coach is Brad Smith, most recently an assistant at Flowery Branch High School, who will work alongside veteran offensive line coach Bill Mayo.
Land said Smith played at Shorter College and worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia, where he helped coach the offensive line and worked in the weight room. Smith was a defensive line coach last year at Flowery Branch, which finished 8-3 and lost in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Land is especially eager about Smith’s potential to help in off-the-field training. Land said Smith has certifications in Olympic weight training and CrossFit, a cross training exercise program.
“I wanted to continue to upgrade our conditioning and our strength and speed development,” Land said. “He brings an entirely different edge to it. Between he and (assistant coach Scott Thompson), I think they really bring us to the next level in the weight room.
“Being a young guy, he brings a lot of passion to the staff.”
The lone position to fill on Land’s staff is the one left vacant by Stacy Parker, who coached wide receivers and special teams but accepted a job as Dalton’s head softball coach during the offseason after Jeff McKinney — who on Thursday was named Dalton’s new athletic director, effective July 1 — resigned.
Land said the position has taken longer to fill because he is intent on finding the right person for the position and staff.
“(Personnel turnover) goes in cycles here at Dalton,” Land said. “It has a tremendous amount of stability but when turnover happens, it comes two or three at a time.”
Ron Ward — who served as athletic director at Dalton for the past three seasons but will step down from that position when he becomes the school’s associate principal on July 1 — said he has had “preliminary conversations” with boys golf assistant Hunter Johnson about becoming head coach. Johnson has been an assistant the past two seasons.