Just minutes into the interview, Stuart Chester was hooked. And it wasn’t a matter of “I think” but “when” he would take over Buford’s baseball program.
The feeling was mutual for Tony Wolfe, who in his first order of business as Buford’s assistant athletic director participated in hiring the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame coach Chester, who comes from Cartersville High, as his replacement.
In 21-years at Cartersville, Chester cultivated a baseball powerhouse which tallied six state championships (2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2013) and 500 wins before going into the Hall of Fame in 2014. Now he inherits a program that too has extended success with eight region crowns and two state titles (2011, 2015) spanning over two decades under Wolfe.
“I’m very honored to be selected by Buford High School,” Chester said. “I love the Buford City school system altogether.
“It’s a nice landing place.”
Wolfe, who will still coach the softball team in addition to working beside athletic director Dexter Wood, was quite involved in the process of finding his successor and said they interviewed several highly qualified candidates before choosing Chester.
Wolfe already knew of Chester’s reputation following multiple postseason encounters, including last season’s Class AAAA quarterfinal that Buford swept.
As a teenager, the former Purple Hurricanes coach was also a teammate of Wolfe’s brother, Jeff, while playing for former Gainesville High coach Don Brewer in the summer American Legion leagues.
“They were probably 16,17-years old, so I’ve known of him since then, and I followed his career as a fellow coach and sometimes rival on the field, you know, in these head-to-head battle over the years,” said Wolfe, who amassed a 448-178 record in 21 years as Buford’s baseball coach. “Just a great guy and really a great hire for us.”
Chester started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Cherokee and Pickens. At Cartersville, he was assistant coach in 1997 before being promoted.
“As a country boy says, I’m just a horse getting back to the barn, and I really can’t get there fast enough,” Chester said with a chuckle.