Adam Graham called it some ‘big shoes to fill’ in taking over the Chapel Hill softball program.
However, he said he is ready for the challenge.
The Panthers job came open a couple weeks ago when longtime coach Mickey Harper took a similar position at Bremen High in Carroll County.
Harper was the only coach in the program’s history, which starter in 1999 when the school opened.
“It is definitely an honor to replace someone like Mickey,” Graham said. “I’ve know coach Harper my entire life. In 19 years he has built something special here. They have a great group of girls and a great group of seniors for the upcoming team. I know it was hard from him to walk away from this but I’m real excited about the opportunity.”
Following 19 years and more than 450 victories, Harper decided to take the Bremen job after a family move. Harper said it was a family decision because a lot of his children’s activities were in the west Georgia area.
He also was looking to move into a more rural area with more land.
"We've been fortunate enough to buy a little piece of land out in Temple, which we were looking to raise our kids in a little bit more of an area where we can just get out and play,” Harper said.
That left the door open for Graham, a 2001 Douglas County High graduate. Graham played two seasons of baseball at ABAC before finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of West Georgia.
“This is home for me, and I’m excited to coach here at Chapel Hill,” said Graham, who was previous head baseball and softball coach at Villa Rica.
He also had stops as an assistant at Augusta State and Haralson County.
Graham said Chapel Hill assistants Bobby Nail and Doug Allen will remain with the program.
Graham met with the team on Thursday morning and will hold tryouts for next season in May.
Several key players from last season’s team that won a fourth straight region title returns. Some of the upcoming seniors played a key role on the Panthers’ 2015 state title team.
“I know some the players from around school,” Graham said. “We want to establish a good summer program and get ready for next season.”
Graham is the younger brother of Alexander coach Zack Graham. He said that he is looking forward to that matchup next season.
“You always have those games that you circle on the calendar,” Adam Graham said. “I went to Douglas County High and we don’t like Alexander. It is going to be fun going against my older brother.”