Coahulla Creek High School Colts

January 17, 2014

Colts' new football coach going back to basics

When he was coaching the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi would gather his team around him at the start of training camp and hold up a football.

“Gentlemen, this is a football.”

It was his way of demonstrating that the first thing you always work on in the game is the fundamentals.

Coahulla Creek High School football coach Chad Barger, hired this week, used that story Thursday when describing what the Colts will do under his leadership. Barger met with his new team for the first time on Thursday.

“When we talked to the kids this morning, we mentioned that there is a clean slate,” Barger said. “We will start from scratch. The basics have got to be taught first, and once they are taught, we will go from there.”

Barger spent the day at the three-year-old school in northern Whitfield County, meeting with his players, interviewing the current coaches on staff and then meeting with the community in the evening. On Monday, Barger was named as the successor to Jared Hamlin, who was fired at the end of last season after three years and a two-year varsity record of 4-16.

Barger, 37, has been the head coach at three Tennessee high school programs — Sequatchie, Clay County and Cannon County — and has an overall record of 43-53 in eight seasons.

Barger resigned from the head coaching position at Sequatchie County in November 2012 after compiling a 29-26 record in five seasons. He was 2-8 in his final season leading a program that went 1-19 in the two seasons before he took over. The Indians were 6-5 in his first season, and he led the school to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 13 years. He took Cannon County to its first winning season in 29 years. In his one season this past fall at Clay County, Barger’s team was 3-7.

He has plenty of experience in growing programs that have not had successful histories or much tradition.

“The biggest thing is learning the kids and watching them change,” he said. “The biggest issue that you deal with in teams that aren’t used to winning (is) their lack of confidence. They are always looking for someone else to make a play or waiting for something bad to happen. As long as you are doing that, you are not going to be successful.

“We have to teach them how to win daily — winning in the weight room and winning in the classroom. Small steps, and once they start building their confidence and watching their self-esteem grow, that is what I want to focus on at this time.”

Already, he is impressed with the school.

“The big advantage is the facilities that we have and the newness of the program,” Barger said. “With the youth of the players that we have, we can build on it. We are not dealing with a senior-laden team. These guys will have a bright future ahead of them.”

But he also acknowledged the Colts have challenges. While youth can be an asset in terms of the future, that potential also requires time to develop. And any change in leadership requires an adjustment for those being led.

“There will be a transition, and kids sometimes struggle with transition and change,” Barger said. “The transition with the program will be one of our biggest challenges.”

Seven seniors are returning for Coahulla Creek, which will have four full classes for the first time next school year. Because of that growth, Barger will have two more coaching slots available in addition to any other slots which may come open due to teachers leaving.

“We are in the process of interviewing the guys who are here and who want to be here,” Barger said. “Hopefully we can bring in some other guys, too. We will build a good staff. I will surround myself with good coaches who are loyal and dedicated to the program.”

One of those coaches could be Barger’s older brother, David, who has been a head coach before and who currently is the defensive coordinator at Tennessee’s Giles County High School.

“We have coaching in our blood,” Barger said. “I would enjoy (coaching with him), and I have talked with him, but it just depends. We will see what the future holds.”

Barger plans to use a 4-2-5 defense, utilizing zone coverages in the secondary and a stunting front. Offensively, he will employ a version of the wing-T — traditionally thought of as a rushing-heavy scheme — that Barger said is adaptable to passing and running.

“I have done a little bit of everything, and obviously you have to fit your personnel, but with what we run, you can fit it,” he said. “We can be the high-flying, up-tempo throw-it-all-over- the-field, or we can be the two tight-end-set-with-power-football team, depending on what we have. We can adjust it where we need to.”

Barger pointed out that with this same system he had three running backs rush for 1,000 yards in one season at Sequatchie, and had both a 1,500-yard passer and a 1,000-yard runner at Clay County this past season.

“The players need to understand the style we are going to play with, which will be fast and physical,” he said. “Football is a physical sport and also an exciting sport. It is one of the most demanding sports that you can play. ... It teaches you a lot about adversity, and how you handle adversity builds your character. It will be tough at times, but the rewards will far outweigh any of the negatives.”

Barger’s wife Stacy is originally from Sequatchie County and he said getting back closer to her family was a big draw. Also, he has two daughters, the oldest of which will be an eighth-grader at North Whitfield Middle School. He said he is looking to give his children a stable environment in their high school years.

“I would love to plant my roots,” he said. “That is kind of what we are looking for is to plant ourselves and let my children graduate. The high school is amazing, and it would be a big advantage for them to graduate from here.”

1
Text Only
Coahulla Creek High School Colts
  • 7on7 championship game6.jpg Bringing in the best

    When high school football coaches look for events to take their teams to during the summer, they are looking for three things — top competition, organization and hospitality.
    For The Daily Citizen’s Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship, the Dalton community and local business leaders take care of the latter. The tournament officials work tirelessly to provide the organization. And the two combined assure the top competition will show up.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • s-CCHS softball 8.jpg On a mission

    The local girls who visited the Dominican Republic last week on a mission trip through Score International tell a matching story.
    Toward the end of a visit to Pasitos de Jesus, a girls orphanage in Boca Chica, the children began singing the Gospel song “Mighty to Save” to their visitors.
    “It sent chills down your spine,” said Kala Franks, a rising senior at Coahulla Creek High School. “I felt they were ministering to me rather than us ministering to them.”

    June 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • NW softball state championship file 1 mlh.jpg In the lineup again

    When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
    Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round

    Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.

    June 18, 2014

  • Isabel Salinas 5 mlh.jpg All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age

    Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
    One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • s-Foxx file 1 mlh.jpg Creek’s Champ

    Before there were any attempts in the high jump finals Thursday at the Class 3A boys track and field state high school meet at Jefferson High School’s Memorial Stadium, there was some trash talking.
    Coahulla Creek assistant coach Eric Bishop said one of the competitors approached top-seeded Josh Foxx, a Coahulla Creek junior, and told Foxx he was about to run into a wolf.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Good day sends Dalton boys to state golf tourney

    With a spot in the Class 4A state tournament on the line, Dalton High School’s golf team put together one of its best rounds this season on a course coach Hunter Johnston said was as demanding as any the Catamounts had played this year.

    May 6, 2014

  • cchs v st pius boys tennis3.jpg Can’t win ’em all: Colts fall to St. Pius X

    VARNELL — Just as in other matches this season, there were handshakes and hugs awaiting the members of Coahulla Creek High School’s boys tennis team as they walked off the court Monday.
    Unfortunately for the Colts, this time they were of the comforting rather than the congratulating variety.

    April 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hopkins sisters 2 mlh.jpg Sectionals for sisters

    TUNNEL HILL — When you consider all of the hours of practice, all of the years of gymnastics training and the physical demands of being a cheerleader, the last word you would expect to hear an athlete use to describe herself is “lazy.”

    April 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creek girls fall short at Oconee Co.

    In 2013, Coahulla Creek’s girls high school tennis team saw their season end on the road at Oconee County in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.
    Friday in the second round of this year’s tournament, the Lady Warriors again were the team to end the Coahulla Creek season, taking a 3-0 win in Watkinsville. But coach Matt Facey hopes the second-round loss means the Lady Colts will advance at least to the state quarterfinals next season.

    April 26, 2014