BROOKLET — Families preparing to welcome in a new member are prepared for a nine-month wait. When it comes to finding a new head football coach, that long of a wait can wear on the nerves a bit as fans and players alike anxiously await the person who will set a new course for the team.
Roughly nine months ago, Southeast Bulloch started the process of finding a new head coach. On Monday morning, the newest member of the SEB athletic family was announced as former Lakeside assistant coach Barrett Davis was named the new head Yellow Jacket.
“I grew up the small town of Harlem Georgia, a tight community where anyone would do anything for anyone,” Davis said. “That’s the kind of feel I got here in Brooklet. It seems like a very close community that cares about football. They care about their kids, and I’m happy to be here,”
In May of 2017, Pat Collins announced he would be stepping down as Yellow Jacket head coach to take over as athletic director at Bulloch Academy. Southeast Bulloch then named defensive coordinator — and former Statesboro head coach — Steve Pennington as the interim head coach.
Pennington, who retired at the end of the season, led the Jackets to a 6-1 region record and the school’s 13th state playoff appearance. The season ended in a 43-28 loss to Pike County in the first round of the Class AAA tournament.
Early Monday morning, SEB held a press conference where principal Stephen Hoyle introduced Davis as the 16th head coach in school history.
“We had an extensive search for our new coach,” Hoyle said. “We had well over 50 applicants. Our committee narrowed it down to 10, and after interviewing those 10 we had it down to three and then coach John Page and myself decided on Coach Davis.”
Davis comes to Southeast Bulloch after spending the past four years at Lakeside in Augusta where he served as defensive coordinator, helping the Panthers to back-to-back state playoff appearances.
Prior to working at Lakeside, Davis was an assistant coach for five years at Burke County under head coach Eric Parker, where the Bears advanced to the state every season. Those five seasons included five region championships, highlighted by the Bears winning the state title in 2011.
“I saw this as a very good opportunity for me to come in and take over a program that has some great things already in place,” Davis said. “We are going to get to work this week in the weight room, conditioning and starting to implement what we want to do on offense and defense.”
Davis wasn't immediately forthcoming about what kind of systems he sees the Jackets going to on either side of the ball, but did mention that defensively they may work out of a 3-5. On offense, Davis said things may be in the hands of former Yellow Jacket assistant Jeremy Gantt.
“We have talked about bringing Coach Gantt back,” Davis said. “If we can work something out here, and he is able to work things out at Lincoln County, that is definitely a guy that could come in and help us on offense.”
This won’t be Davis’ first time living in Bulloch County, as Davis was here from 2005-09 as a student at Georgia Southern and played baseball for Rodney Hennon as a catcher in 2005.
“It’s a different role going from being a student at Southern to now being a teacher and coach,” Davis said. “Statesboro is a great town and continues to grow rapidly, and I’m excited to be back in Bulloch County.”
Davis graduated rom Georgia Southern in 2009 and has received three degrees from the school, his latest being a specialist degree.
Davis has been married to his wife, Tori Lynn, for seven years and they have a 2-year old son named Jackson.