January 14, 2014

Coahulla Creek makes Chad Barger hire official (Update)

Tuesday morning update: Coahulla Creek High School officially has a new head football coach. The Whitfield County Board of Education this morning approved the hiring of Chad Barger.


After a whirlwind of nearly two months that saw Coahulla Creek High School go from firing the only football coach in its short history to facing an embarrassing situation after a high-profile coach walked away after the money he was promised disappeared, the program may have finally found its new head coach.

Former Sequatchie County (Tenn.) High School and current Clay County (Tenn.) High School head coach Chad Barger’s name is expected to be presented to the Whitfield County Board of Education this morning at a called meeting at 9:30. If the board approves, Barger will replace Jared Hamlin, who was fired by Coahulla Creek principal Stanley Stewart after the Colts went 2-8 this past season.

“The school and the area were the things that drew me to the job,” Barger said. “It is a beautiful place and the school and the facilities are top notch. It is a place where if you can get things going it can really be special, and I can’t wait for the chance to meet everyone.”

Barger plans on being at the school Thursday morning at 8 to meet with the team members and the current coaching staff. The school plans a meeting with parents and community members later the day, but details were not finalized Monday night.

Barger’s hiring — if approved by the board — would conclude a coaching search that would have seen three different coaches accepting the position.

Stewart had announced former South Pittsburg (Tenn.) High School coach Vic Grider as the new head coach at the football banquet in December, but Grider backed away from the job after a promised incentive package of money as well as coaching positions made by Stewart were taken off of the table by Superintendent Judy Gilreath on Dec. 13.

On Friday, Gretna (Va.) High School coach Kevin Saunders’ name was given to the central office after he was offered the job, but he did not clear the system’s vetting process which is similar to a background check.

Stewart declined to comment specifically on Saunders, who was one of three finalists for the job along with Barger and Shorter College offensive coordinator Tim Mathis, but Gilreath said, “We didn’t think that he was a good fit.”

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 which had gone 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 was also the head coach at Cannon County and took that program to its first winning season in 29 years. In his one season this past fall at Clay County, Barger’s team was 3-7. His overall record as a head coach is 43-53.

“The first thing is that he has taken over three programs — all of which have had losing records — and turned them into playoff teams,” Stewart said of Barger. “The second thing was that there were so many people who gave us solid recommendations on how well he works with the community and the kids. And he is a guy that really understands and appreciates the balance of athletics and academics.”

Barger said he hasn’t specifically sought out rebuilding jobs, but he doesn’t back down from the challenges they present.

“I have just sort of landed in those situations,” he said. “All we can do is go in and roll our sleeves up and work hard.”

Barger, 37, has ties nearby in Tennessee as his wife, Stacy, is originally from Sequatchie County. But Barger said the future for his daughters — Chloe, 13, and Hallie, 9 — played a big factor in deciding to come to Whitfield County.

“With the opportunities that they would have, that is a huge thing with me,” Barger said. “And my wife’s family is about an hour away. It seems like an ideal situation for us.”

Text Only
  • NW at SE soccer   5  mlh.jpg On to the title match

    With around 15 minutes left in Thursday’s Region 7-4A semifinals match, Northwest Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team increased pressure on Southeast Whitfield with hopes of a tying goal.
    But the host Raiders were the ones getting the late goal.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • DHS tennis day 2 2 mlh.jpg Prep tennis: Perfect Colts claim title in Region 5-3A

    Coahulla Creek High School’s boys tennis team only needed three years to win its first region championship.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Heritage at DHS baseball 3 mlh.jpg Prep baseball: Cats must win today to clinch No. 2 seed

    Dalton High School’s baseball team led 6-5 against visiting Heritage-Catoosa as late as the fifth inning with a chance to clinch second place in Sub-region 7B-4A.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Region track and field: Richardson paces Murray Co. girls

    Katlyn Richardson has had an impressive junior season for Murray County High School’s girls track and field team.

    April 17, 2014

  • Colts boys have shot at 3A golf state sectional

    Coahulla Creek High School’s boys golf team finished second in the Region 5-3A tournament at Calhoun’s Fields Ferry Golf Course on Thursday, but now the Colts will have to wait to see if they will advance to the Class 2A state sectional tournament.

    April 17, 2014

  • CHS Lowe_Bartley 3 mlh.jpg Let’s keep playing

    Academic offerings played a big part in which college football program nabbed Christian Heritage School’s Nich Bartley, one of the area’s top players in 2013.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep roundup: Coahulla Creek hurts N. Murray’s playoff hopes

    One play in the fifth inning, during which the sun got in pitcher Braiden Jacobs’ eyes, seemed to encapsulate the entire season for Coahulla Creek High School’s baseball team.
    But it could be one rule misinterpretation that defines the season for North Murray.

    April 17, 2014

  • NW region tennis 3 mlh.jpg Region tennis roundup: Six area teams clinch spots in state

    Dalton High School’s tennis teams finished their business quickly on the first day of the Region 7-4A tournament.
    Coach David Hilley had no problem with that.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Region track day 2 2 mlh.jpg All the way to the top

    En route to the Region 7-4A track and field championship Wednesday as the host school, Dalton High’s boys team found out what a difference a year makes.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Area middle school roundup: CHS girls soccer team earns shutout win

    Olivia Idom had the lone goal as Christian Heritage’s middle school girls soccer team beat Gladden 1-0 on Monday.

    April 17, 2014