After a near five-week search, Statesboro has landed on one of its native sons to lead its football program back to greener pastures.
Tattnall County head coach Jeff Kaiser will replace Steve Pennington, who resigned last month following a winless 2016 season and a 4-26 record the past three seasons. Pennington led the Blue Devils to the 2005 Class 4A state title. Kaiser will return to Statesboro for the first time since he was on the 2001 staff under Buzz Busby that won the Class 4A state title.
Kaiser was formally approved by the Bulloch County Board of Education Thursday night and was officially introduced to the public Friday at a meet-and-greet at Statesboro High School's fieldhouse.
Kaiser was selected from a pool of 50 applicants, and was picked by Statesboro High School principal Dr. Ken LeCain and SHS athletic director Chad Prosser.
Kaiser beat out other reported finalists Jon Lindsey of East Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., and Ken Cribb of Bluffton High School in Bluffton, SC.
Kaiser was a 1991 graduate of Statesboro High, where he was an accomplished defensive lineman under former head coaches Steve Brooks and Charles Webb. Kaiser was a member of the 1989 region 2-AAA title team and back-to-back quarterfinal playoff teams in 1989 and 1990.
Kaiser would go on to letter at the University of Georgia, where he was named to the All-SEC Freshman team in 1991. Kaiser would serve as assistants at Statesboro in 1996, before moving on to Gainesville High School from 1997 to 1999 and then West Laurens High School from 1999 to 2000.
During his three-season stint at Statesboro from 2001 to 2003, the teams Kaiser served on had a combined record of 36-6-1 with a region title and a state title in 2001 and a state runner-up in 2000.
Then, following his second Statesboro stint Kaiser moved out to Perry High School for two more seasons before taking the head coaching job at Tattnall County in 2006.
For the past 11 seasons Kaiser has resided in Tattnall County, where he accumulated a 62-55 record to become the winningest coach in the school's 24-year history. Kaiser went to the playoffs in six of his 11 seasons and advanced past the second round once.
Kaiser's best season came in 2010, when he led the Battle Creek Warriors to a 9-1 regular season finish and a region 2-2A title. Tattnall would advance past the first round for the second time in school history but would be eliminated by Thomasville, 24-21.
However, Tattnall has experienced one winning season since 2010, a 6-5 season in 2011 then nothing better than .500 since. Tattnall has gone 24-28 since 2012 with two one-and-done trips to the playoffs.
Pending his release from his Tattnall County contract, Kaiser will officially join the Statesboro High School faculty on Jan. 2 as the head coach and a teacher.