When the Portal Panthers take the football field this fall, they’ll be playing for their fourth head coach in the last six seasons.
In his first head coaching assignment, David NeSmith compiled a 10-19-1 record over three seasons and led the Panthers to within a game of the state playoffs in 2011.
This week, NeSmith began in his new position at Bradwell Institute where he will serve as offensive coordinator this fall.
“I’ll miss Portal, but I feel like this was the right decision for me,” NeSmith said. “I’m certainly very grateful for my time in Portal. I appreciate the support for the administration, the fans, and especially the kids that worked hard for us.”
This will be NeSmith’s first coaching assignment outside of Bulloch County, but there will still be a few familiar faces hanging around.
NeSmith will be working under head coach — and former Georgia Southern national championship-winning quarterback — Greg Hill. The duo previously coached together as assistants at Statesboro High.
There should be quite a midfield reunion Oct. 17 as the Blue Devils make their way to Bradwell to take on their new region rivals.
“I think that it’s going to be a great situation this season,” NeSmith said. “Greg and I worked well together when we were both at Statesboro and I’m excited to get to work with him again.
“It might be a little strange seeing (Statesboro High coach) Steve Pennington on the other sideline this year, but I’m sure we’ll have plenty to catch up on.”
As for Portal, the Panthers will not hold any formal practices during the GHSA’s window for spring contact drills that begins Monday.
A committee to search for a new Portal football head coach has been formed and will be led by Dr. Karen Doty, who will assume the principal position at Portal Middle High School this fall.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.