When Johnny White was an assistant football coach at Creekside during the early 2000s, he always admired the football program at Douglas County High.
He remembers those teams for posing a match up problem for Creekside, where he served as defensive coordinator before eventually becoming the head coach.
Now, White will get to see the program unclose as he was approved by the county school board to be hired as the Tigers football coach. The last three seasons, White served as defensive line and assistant head coach at Langston Hughes.
“I know they have some talent there,” White said. “I think we can make it a great fit. We saw them during my time at Creekside and I know they have a good program.”
White replaces Jason Respert, who had spent four seasons at Douglas County and compiled a 12-29 record with one state playoff appearance.
It was Respert’s first head coaching job.
When Douglas County principal Andre Weaver begin the coaching search, he said he was looking for a person that had previous coaching experience.
Weaver said he was pleased that White accepted the position to lead the program as it begins play in a new region next school year. White and Weaver have known each other since the principal was a former track and field coach in the Fulton County School System.
“He has been a head coach and he has had success,” Weaver said. “He knows how to lead a program and he is a very genuine person. There is some familiarity with the program and region.”
Although the returning players are going through conditioning now with coaches from the previous staff, White said he will start implementing his program next month. Players will be required to attend 6:30 a.m. workouts each day to get ready for spring practice, which begins in May.
“I’m an early morning person, and it also gives players that do another sport no excuse for missing workouts,” White said. “If I can make the drive from Stockbridge each morning, then they can be there. We are definitely looking forward to getting started.”
Players had an opportunity to meet White, and many left impressed with what he had to say.
“I think he has a plan to help us turn it around over here,” Douglas County sophomore wide receiver/cornerback Charles Cadie said. “He is bringing in a fresh start and a new attitude. He kept stressing how we were going to work hard, and that no one was going to out work us. We are looking forward to a good season with a lot of opportunities.”
White replaced Kevin Whitley at Creekside following the 2008 season and lead the team to one playoff appearance in three years. He compiled a 19-12 record with his best mark being 8-3 in 2010.
White said he learned a lot about coaching during his time at Creekside, and says it will help him as he tries to rebuild the Douglas County program, which has two playoff appearances in the last nine seasons.
“I think it will be a lot easier for me now as I had a chance to sit back and observe while being here at Langston Hughes,” White said. “It was definitely a tough decision leaving from over here because the people have really been great.”
White will bring Langston Hughes offensive coordinator Travis Smith with him to the Tigers program. He is high on Smith, who was also a candidate for the Douglas County job.
“He is the best offensive guy I’ve ever been with,” White said. “He is young and energetic. I think I better use him as much as I can because he will not be around long. He is going to be a head coach really soon. He is very thorough and brings and exciting and easy offense that the kids will love. Any success we have, coach Smith will definitely have a say in it.”
Next school year, Douglas County will move into the nine-team Region 5-AAAAAA with county schools Alexander and New Manchester. Also compiling the region will be Creekside, Langston Hughes, Mays, Northgate, South Paulding and Tri-Cities.
White said he is familiar with all the schools accept New Manchester and South Paulding.
“During my time at Creekside we played all the schools,” White said. “It will help our staff.”