Thomson High School's offensive coordinator, defensive line coach and junior varsity coach will soon be heading south.
Rob Ridings recently accepted the position of head football coach at Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga. Making the move to Brunswick with him is Lee Hutto who will take the job of defensive coordinator for Glynn Academy, and Thomson JV coach Josh Veal, who will be an assistant coach.
The Red Terrors compete in Region 3-AAAAA with reigning state champion Camden County, Brunswick, Bradwell Institute and six Savannah area schools.
"Leaving Thomson will be bittersweet," Coach Ridings said. "I'm pleased with the opportunity, but leaving Coach Welsh, this staff and community will be tough."
Coach Ridings turned down the job of head coach at Central Carrolton last year in favor of remaining on the Bulldog staff.
"The commitment was not there like it is here, so I felt it best not to make that move," he said.
Before coming to Thomson in 1999, Ridings served as head coach at Troup High School. He was also an assistant at Griffin and LaGrange High Schools. He played college ball at Middle Tennessee State where he also started his coaching career.
Coach Ridings commented that from what he had gathered so far, his biggest challenge to developing a competitive program at Glynn Academy would be to get the players to commit to a championship work ethic. The team finished 2-8 last year.
Thomson Head Coach Luther Welsh said he was happy for Coach Ridings, adding that it was an opportunity for him to progress in his coaching career.
"Once you're a head coach and you become an assistant coach, if you want to progress or stay in coaching, you sure want to go back to being a head coach again," he said. "We hate for him to leave, and he did a good job here. But you can't hold people back or have any animosity because they want to leave."
Coach Welsh also had good things to say about Coach Hutto, who he thinks is capable of taking a head coaching job sometime in the future.
"If he wants to stay in coaching and be a head coach, then he would need to become an offensive or defensive coordinator, because that's who they interview," Coach Welsh said.
Coach Hutto said leaving Thomson will be "difficult because this is my home. This is where I am from, and we have a lot of great memories here in Thomson, but ... it's an opportunity for me to move up in my career."
No word yet as to whom will replace the exiting coaches. But Coach Welsh did say the dual nature of the profession makes replacing coaches difficult.
"I have some people in mind, but I haven't hired anybody," Coach Welsh said. "When you fill a coaching vacancy, you've got to fill a teaching vacancy. ...Teaching comes first."