Looks like Jeff Caldwell, who resigned as head football coach at Stockbridge High School to take over the head job at Westover, is making the transition quite nicely.
"We've got around 40 to 48 players showing up so far," said Caldwell, who holds the workouts where players can either participate in the morning or evening. "I'm pretty pleased with the numbers, under the circumstances."
Nobody knew for sure that Caldwell would be coach until after the school year was over. He was scheduled to be approved by the Dougherty County school board on May 12. However, the vote was tabled because of concerns about the selection process being open and fair.
After the selection process was determined that it was open and fair, Caldwell was approved by the board on May 20. He replaces Richard Hodges, who resigned and will be an assistant at Fitzgerald this season.
Westover did not have spring practice because the coaching change was so late. The week that Caldwell's vote was delayed was the last week of school.
"I doubt that even if I was hired that final week that we would have been able to do much concerning spring practice, especially with final exams being held at the time," Caldwell said. "The only thing that really hurt about not having spring practice was not getting to meet the eighth-graders coming up."
The assembling of assistant coaches is almost complete. According to Caldwell, he offered the assistant coaches from last year's Westover team the opportunity to be on this staff. Two assistants won't be back — William Chunn and Dallis Smith.
"(Chunn) decided to stay in administration," Caldwell said of Chunn, who is an assistant principal for the school. "And I lost coach Smith to family obligations. He and his wife have a young child, and he wants to concentrate more on his job as the boys basketball coach."
Caldwell said he has one replacement in mind and is working toward adding the other one. He wouldn't give the names of the prospective replacements.
As for the other assistants (Danny Blaylock, James Boyett, Bruce Bowles, Greg Byars and Tim Goodin), they are returning.
As far as implementing his game plan, Caldwell that will have to wait.
"We're going over basics again," Caldwell said. "We're setting a base offense and base defense, so when we get going in July, we can go from there."
Westover, which competes in GHSA Region 1-AAA, starts its season on Aug. 29 at Sumter County and Patriots' region schedule begins on Oct. 17 at Fitzgerald. That region schedule includes a game against cross-town rival Monroe on Oct. 24 at Hugh Mills Stadium.
The Patriots have not been to the state playoffs since the early 1980s.
This story first appeared in the Albany Herald