New Georgia Southern coach Chris Hatcher has found his offensive coordinator – former Peach County High School head coach Rance Gillespie.
“He’s a guy I’ve known and respected for a long time,” Hatcher said Friday when the hire became official. “He’s well-connected in the state of Georgia, and I feel very comfortable working with him. He brings a lot of energy.”
Like Hatcher, Gillespie is a Georgia native and a proven winner. He led the Trojans to back-to-back Class AAA state titles in 2005 and 2006 and was 65-16 in six years at Peach County. Georgia Southern will be Gillespie’s first collegiate job.
“He’s a super organized guy who is well-versed in offensive football,” Hatcher said. “I think he’ll do great at Georgia Southern.”
A native of Clayton and a former defensive back for the University of Georgia, Gillespie is already in Statesboro and is the fourth member of Hatcher’s staff. He joins three assistants Hatcher brought with him from Valdosta State – assistant head coach/offensive line coach Shawn Bostick, defensive coordinator Ashley Anders and secondary coach/recruiting coordinator Keith Hatcher.
Chris Hatcher, who will handle play-calling duties, said no other staff members have been hired as of Friday. Bruce Mackey, Gillespie’s wide receivers coach the last six years, had high praise for Georgia Southern’s newest addition.
“He’s one of the most brilliant offensive guys I’ve ever met,” Mackey said. “His play-calling ability, his organization and the professionalism in which he goes about his business are all qualities you look for in a good football coach.”
Mackey said Gillespie made an effort to bring concepts prevalent in the college and professional ranks to the high school level. At Peach County, where Gillespie was an assistant for four years before taking over as head coach, he ran a multiple, pro-style offense and his forte was coaching quarterbacks.
This year’s Trojan signal caller, Bryan Ellis, has verbally committed to Alabama-Birmingham, while Gillespie’s quarterback in 2005, Antonio Henton, plays for Ohio State. Gillespie also works as a quarterbacks coach for Scout.com’s combines, evaluating high school talent across the nation.
“Coach Gillespie is a very versatile-type of coach,” Mackey said. “He never wants to trap himself into doing things just one way. He’s always been able to adjust to the times and is always trying to stay one step ahead of the defense. “We are going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for him. We’ll all be rooting for him on Saturdays.”