Not long ago, there were two Walls as high school boys basketball head coaches in Houston County.
Soon there will be none.
Houston County’s Stephen Walls announced Thursday night on Twitter that this would be his final season on the job.
Walls, the younger brother of former Westfield boys head coach Jake Walls, posted the announcement a few minutes after 8 p.m. on Thursday:
“After talking it over with my family and close friends, I have decided that this will be my last season coaching basketball here. Although I am unsure of what is ahead for me, I am looking forward to the opportunities that the future holds for me and my family. Alumni, I am FOREVER GRATEFUL for your commitment to our program and myself. I LOVE and am THANKFUL for eaech one of you! Now it’s time to make one last run and end this with a bang for these seniors!”
Houston County was off Friday and hosts GHSA Region 1-6A foe Lee County at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in the regular-season finale and then is likely in action Monday in a region tournament play-in game.
The 34-year-old decided a few weeks ago that it was time. He was on the bus for a road trip when a system-wide email regarding contracts for next year came.
“I don’t have a reason, necessarily; I’m not angry or aggravated with anybody. I knew it was time,” said Walls, a Central Fellowship grad who took over for Jody Dean — formerly an assistant principal at Northside and now with the Houston County Board of Education — in the spring of 2010. “I wanted to let (principal Doug) Rizer know, let him get it done. I know how it is trying to find a coach at the last minute.”
Jake Walls resigned as Westfield’s basketball head coach last April but remained at the school and on the football staff. The two coached together not long after Stephen graduated from what is now Point.
The Bears’ boys basketball program has struggled for years. The playoff trip in 2014-15 was the first in nearly a decade. According to information reported to Maxpreps, Walls’ record is 49-111.
He was 26 when he took over.
“When I started this, I didn’t have kids; now I have two,” the father of 5-year-old Addie Baye and 3-year-old Easton said with a chuckle. “Things were easier. But I love the game, I love the kids. I just felt the time to let somebody else have their turn.”
A pair of Middle Georgia soccer standouts signed with Division I programs this week.
Stratford’s Monica Montalvo signed with The Citadel, while Jones County’s Ethan Oulsnam signed with Georgia Southern.
Montalvo, also a volleyball standout with the Eagles, played 17 games last season as a defender for Stratford, helping lead the way to 10 shutouts. She was chosen for the SOWEGA all-star game.
Oulsnam became the first Jones County boys soccer player to sign with a Division I program. Also a standout runner, the midfielder is a two-time captain and two-time all-region pick for the Greyhounds.
Help Found, Help Wanted
The wait for Bleckley County to find a new football head coach appears to be nearing an end.
The county Board of Education has a called meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday when it is expected to announce the successor to Tracy White, who was ostensibly relieved of his duties in December.
There are still Middle Georgia openings at Northeast and Baldwin, and there is shuffling around the state.
Jason Strickland, who went 27-18 at Lamar County, has left Fitzgerald to take over at Pierce County, moving up a classification. He went 54-14 at Fitzgerald, with two straight trips to the Class 2A finals.
As for bizarre circles of coaching moves:
Strickland replaces Sean Pender, who went to Brunswick.
Brunswick fired Larry Harold, who left Macon County for the job and lasted two years. Harold is reportedly a candidate at Baldwin, which fired Lee Hannah, who replaced the fired Dexter Copeland, who replaced Harold at Macon County after a year at Twiggs County. Harold was a finalist at Perry and could be in the running at Northeast.
Crisp County might be looking for a new head coach after a stellar year. Or not. Reports are that Shelton Felton is bound for Auburn as a defensive analyst, where he would continue to watch Cougars’ standout Markaviest Bryant, who signed Wednesday with the Tigers.
The American Football Coaches Association proposed in January a rule prohibiting somebody closely associated with a prospect from taking a job at the college that prospect chose. The NCAA will vote on the rule in April and make it retroactive to January. Felton has denied having been offered the job or taking it. He told WALB-TV in Albany that he’s going to “be at Crisp until they send me packing.”
A move that no doubt turned heads came Friday morning when the Coweta County Board of Education, at a specially called meeting, approved longtime Sandy Creek head coach Chip Walker, son of former Peach County and Mary Persons head coach Rodney Walker, as the new boss at Newnan. Chip Walker succeeded his father at Sandy Creek in 2005 and went 127-26-1 in 12 seasons.
Newnan has been basically a little better than .500 program since a four-year run of 44-8 from 2006-2009. Head coach Mike McDonald resigned in early January after 10 years with the program.
Note to basketball coaches
Area basketball coaches should send information regarding their region tournaments to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, even if seeds are only partially finalized. At least the times and locations can be sent before Sunday’s region meetings. Final details should be sent as soon as possible after the meetings.