Chad Alligood has applied for very few head coaching jobs and been finalist a few times. But he never was going to be a regular applicant for jobs just to be a head coach.
Something about the opening at Washington-Wilkes intrigued him, and that only grew upon his visit. Apparently, Washington-Wilkes was equally impressed and hired Alligood on Tuesday as its football head coach. He will be introduced and meet with players Wednesday.
Washington-Wilkes is about 20 miles north of I-20, 45 miles southeast of Athens and 65 miles northwest of Augusta. Alligood interviewed about three weeks ago, and was a little surprised.
“After I went up there and spent a day interviewing and seeing the facilities, talked with the superintendent and principal, it really started to intrigue me,” the 42-year-old said. “Never had been there before. Walking into the building and sitting with the superintendent and the principal — some people say this may be a cliche — but it just felt good.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be that way when I got there, because I had no expectations going into the interview.”
But between talks with superintendent and Washington-Wilkes grad Rosemary Caddell as well as principal and former Washington-Wilkes assistant coach Robert Wheeler as well as a tour of the facilities, Alligood — who will also assume athletics director duties — was fairly hooked.
“I wasn’t there long, and ‘Man, this could be a really good place,’ ” he said. “I just had a really good vibe from the principal and superintendent.”
Alligood graduated from Wilkinson County and Georgia College, getting his Masters at Columbus State and specialist at Georgia College. Alligood began his coaching career at John Milledge, where he coached future brother-in-law, Georgia fullback and John Milledge head coach J.T. Wall.
Then he spent six seasons at Northside under then-head coach Conrad Nix before returning to his alma mater for a year. He coached at Perry and FPD before returning to Northside in 2010.
Washington-Wilkes gets a coach who has pretty much been around nothing but winning. In all those years, Alligood has been on two losing teams: 3-7 at Wilkinson County in 2005 and 2-8 at Perry in 2007.
At two stints at Northside, he has been part of a remarkable 147-32 record, a winning percentage of 82.1. Overall, Alligood has been part of a 77.7 winning percentage, his teams going 212-61.
The Tigers also get a coach who isn’t just all about winning.
“A big thing is No. 1, how much he cared about the kids,” Northside head coach Kevin Kinsler said. “With him, it was always about the kids and all about the program.”
Northside has gone 80-11 with the 2014 GHSA Class 5A championship title with Alligood on staff.
“An excellent assistant for us,” Kinsler said. “Knowing him and his skill level and what he brings to the table, I feel like he’s going to be successful. I think Washington-Wilkes is getting not only a very quality coach who’s extremely qualified, but they’re getting a quality individual as well.”
Washington-Wilkes finished 4-7 in 2016, but was 4-1 in Region 7B-1A. Three losses were to higher-classification programs, and it lost twice to Tattnall Square.
The husband of Talisha Alligood has been a finalist in recent years at Houston County and Perry and replaces Jacob Kelly, who went 8-15 in two seasons. Robby Robinson, who led McIntosh County Academy into the Class 1A public school title game against Macon County in December, went 33-14 in four seasons from 2011-14.
The Tigers tend to have back-to-back seasons of double-digit wins (2012-13, 2005-6, 1999-2000) while going about .500 or a little better in between.
But from 1981 to 2008, under head coaches Butch Brooks (1981-1997), Frank Vohun (1998-2001), Ross New (2002) and Russell Morgan (2003-2008), the Tigers had only one sub-.500 regular season. They have nine region titles in that span, mostly in Class 2A and reached at least the quarterfinals 10 times, playing in six state titles games.
“That’s the thing, getting consistency there,” Alligood said. “There’s no reason why we can’t win double digits every year there. They have it all in place, to me, for a school.
“I have every inclination they want to do it the right way.”