JEFFERSON – Dacula assistant football coach Brandon Worley was named head coach of the Jackson County Panthers Monday night.
Worley was introduced to the team Tuesday morning. He replaces former head coach Benji Harrison, who resigned from the same position in February.
Worley said the goal is to be a “competitor” for a region and state championship every year, but it’s also to graduate players who are going to “show up, stand up and speak up.”
“They are going to be guys that excel no matter what they do,” Worley explained. “They learn those values that are going to help them in life. That’s the No. 1 goal.
“Wins and losses, I think they get forgotten after a while. But, the values that the kids learn in a quality program are irreplaceable for the rest of their life…It’s a great day to be a Panther.”
Worley, a graduate of Banks County High School, played college football at Catawba College, where his team won a Southern Athletic Conference Championship and finished No. 2 in the nation. He graduated with his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Piedmont College.
He began his coaching career at Banks County High School under two-time state champion head coach Blair Armstrong.
From there, he was an assistant at North Forsyth High School until he took his the offensive coordinator position at Dacula High School.
In his two years with the Falcons, they won the Region 8-AAAAAA championship (2014) and finished as region runner-up (2013).
Jackson County is his first head-coaching job.
“It means a lot, because it’s an opportunity to have influence on young men and a community and a school,” Worley said. “Very, very huge responsibility.
“I’m really looking forward to that opportunity of getting to meet people, know people and have that positive influence.”
Athletic director Adam Lindsey said the school “immediately” began its search for its new coach when Harrison resigned.
“We knew going into this process what an important hire this is not only for our football team but for the community,” said Lindsey.
They received 96 resumes, mostly from Georgia, but some came from Florida, Alabama, North and South Carolina and as far away as Illinois, he said.
“The current state of the football program has attracted incredible amounts of interest and this program is widely recognized as a program on the rise,” Lindsey explained. “During the process, it was important that we spoke to as many people as possible to ensure that we were able to find the perfect fit for our student athletes and the community.
“We held a community focus group where we received great feedback from our football parents and community members. We were able to use their feedback to assist us through the interview process. I personally spoke to over half of the applicants and received countless recommendation phone calls from principals, high school head football coaches and college football coaches (most of them about Coach Worley),” Lindsey continued.
“Coach Worley’s references spoke not only to (his) abilities as a football coach but that he is an excellent educator and someone that excels in developing men of character.”
When addressing the team in the weight room, Worley told them, “What you do in this room carries over onto the field.”
He wants the players to “approach” and “attack” their work and goals with “enthusiasm.” If they do that, then, “the
rest will take care of itself.”
The Panthers are coming off a 2-8 season (1-5 Region 8-AAA) in 2014.