Two area high school football coaching vacancies are on pace to be filled by the end of the month at the latest.
Banks County and White County High Schools are in the process of interviewing candidates; Banks County hopes to have the process competed within the next 10 days, while White County is aiming for the end of the month.
"We've had such quality applicants," Banks County principal Art Wheaton said. "We want to continue to build our program and we're looking for someone we hope will stay here for years to come. We've come along way and coach (Blair) Armstrong did a good job here and we want to continue his success."
Armstrong's resignation as Leopards athletic director and football coach takes effect Friday. He notified the school last month he was leaving for the North Forsyth football coaching job after four seasons at Banks County.
Armstrong was 19-22 with the Leopards, including 7-3 (4-1 Region 8A-AA) last season, which was Banks County's best record in more than a decade. In 2008, he led the Leopards to their first playoff appearance since 1997.
Wheaton said the school narrowed down a field of "well over 100 applicants," and is considering 10 finalists for both the football coach and athletic director jobs. He said it's possible, depending on the candidate, there could be separate hires made for each position. He said all the candidates have prior experience as either a head coach or coordinator, and that none are on the current Leopards staff.
Wheaton said the interviewing process began as soon as the job was posted in February, and there will be a meet and greet for the new coach with the booster club, "hopefully within the middle of the month."
A committee of six, consisting of coaches of the other Leopards athletic teams, is leading the search, with Wheaton also listening to input from a group of parents and active members of the booster club.
Of the 10 candidates, Wheaton said eight have been interviewed so far. Though there is an urgency to fill the coaching vacancy, Wheaton said the process will not be rushed.
"We'd like to have someone by the middle of the month, but that might not necessarily happen," he said. "It might be a matter of someone getting out of a contract to come to our school and be a member of our staff.
"But the sooner, the better for the kids and for spring football."
At White County, the Warriors are still going through their rounds of interviews with candidates. The process began last week.
The Warriors coaching job became available when Gregg Segraves resigned midway through his fifth season at White County amid allegations of spousal abuse. Segraves was 26-19 with the Warriors, including two state playoff appearances. Tommy Flowers took over as interim coach when Segraves resigned, and the Warriors finished the season 9-3, advancing to the second round of the Class AAA playoffs.
Flowers will remain on the Warriors football staff as an assistant.
White County principal John Osborne said a committee of 11, made up of parents and administrators, are interviewing five candidates, all of which have head coaching experience.
"We want the community's input," Osborne said. "I was hired by the community process and I think that's the best way to find the right fit."
The Warriors are also looking for coaches to run the boys and girls basketball programs and the softball team. Osborne said the softball position will likely be filled internally, and that a statewide search is underway for the basketball teams.