With spring football practice closing in, two northwest Georgia high schools have filled their head coaching vacancies.
Charlie Wiggins was approved Monday night as the next coach at Gordon Lee by the Chickamauga City Board of Education, while Sean Gray was likewise approved by the Whitfield County board as David Crane's replacement at Southeast Whitfield.
Wiggins has been a Gordon Lee assistant since 2010. He was the head coach at Notre Dame from 2002 to 2008, his teams going 43-35. His 2004 and '05 Irish teams won a total of 21 games, and each reached the TSSAA semifinals in Class 3A.
At Gordon Lee he replaces Kevin McElhaney, who resigned recently after going 28-26 in seven seasons.
"Kevin McElhaney laid the foundation for the program and it's in very good shape," said Wiggins, who played at Maryville College and coached 11 seasons at three colleges before joining the prep ranks at Notre Dame. "We've got 14 or 15 seniors back next year, so it's a great opportunity for me. With the help of the community, faculty and staff, we want to perpetuate the history of Gordon Lee football and hopefully make some of our own."
Gordon Lee athletic director Greg Ellis also believes the future is bright.
"We've got some nice athletes returning, and I'm glad Charlie's here to get this opportunity," Ellis said. "He's an excellent teacher and a good role model for the students, and I've coached against him and with him and I know he'll be a good fit for us."
At Southeast, Gray ascends to the head coaching position after five seasons as head coach of one of the Raiders' feeder schools, Valley Point Middle. His eighth-grade teams won three consecutive Whitfield County Middle School Athletic League titles.
Gray previously was the head coach at Ringgold High School, where in four seasons his teams went 17-24, making the playoffs in 2003. Crane was fired afer going 8-32 in four seasons.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...