By: Thomas Touchstone
With the month of February already underway, it is never too early to begin thinking about football season. Especially with the Super Bowl looming on the weekend’s horizon, football has remained on the minds of Cougar Nation during the high school off season.
This Friday, however, gave a special surge of energy to the excitement when Coach Chip Walker was announced as the Head Football Coach of Newnan High School.
Dr. Chase Puckett, Principal of Newnan High School, and Jeff Bryant, Athletic Director, announced Friday morning via a press release and morning announcement that Walker would be joining Cougar Nation as its Head Football Coach.
After lunch, the NHS Football Team had the opportunity to meet with their new coach in the main cafeteria.
Dr. Puckett started the meeting as he addressed the Cougar football team and introduced them to their new coach.
“Mr. Bryant and I looked to fill some big shoes,” Dr. Puckett said. “We have 130 years of tradition to fulfill. We think we have found the best person to lead Cougar Nation.”
Dr. Puckett gave the floor to Coach Walker, and the players greeted him with applause.
“I’m excited to be a Newnan Cougar. Our goal is to compete for championships,” Walker exclaimed as he introduced himself.
Coach Walker added that the football program would be built on hard work. One of his main goals is to outwork his opponent each and every day.
Walker went on to talk about the football team with a bigger perspective, and he shed some light on what it truly means to play for as well as represent his team as a player.
“As a member of this football team you represent this school and this community,” Walker said.
According to Walker, the main ingredients that make up a great football team are people with high character, strong work-ethic and high intensity.
Walker shared his philosophy for the football program and the community as a whole, “Our job is to make this program and this community what we want it to be.”
The rising seniors were asked to stay as the underclassmen shook the hand of their new coach and were dismissed to class.
Coach Walker’s final words to his first senior class was the importance of a team with veteran leadership.
“Good teams are coach-driven. Great teams are player-driven,” Walker said. “I don’t want someone who enjoys winning. I want someone who hates losing.”
Dr. Puckett noted in the press release how the search committee found a coach in Walker who shared the same values and commitment to students’ lives that have been a longstanding hallmark of Newnan Athletics.
Officially welcoming Coach Walker into the Cougar Family, Dr. Puckett commented, “When our search committee began the search for a new leader for our Cougar football program, we wanted a coach who shared our commitment to a strong school-community partnership, who had demonstrated success on the field and in the classroom, who showed a true commitment to the overall student-athlete, and who could lead Newnan High School to a state championship. We found all that and more in Chip and I know that he will be a great addition to the Newnan High School family.”
Mr. Bryant also noted how he greeted the new chapter of Cougar Football with excitement and celebrated the addition of Coach Walker’s leadership to the program.
“This is a great day for Newnan High School and the start of a new chapter in our football program. [Coach Walker] has the experience and the commitment to tradition and excellence to lead us forward. It’s great to be a Newnan Cougar!” Mr. Bryant said in Friday’s press release.
Coach Walker expressed his gratitude and his own excitement for taking on his new role as Head Football Coach of Newnan High School, and he noted how he looks forward to all of the opportunities
“I am honored to join the Newnan family,” Walker said in the press release. “I appreciate Dr. Puckett and Mr. Bryant’s faith in me for this incredible adventure. Newnan is a fantastic school with a history of football excellence and I know the excitement so many have for the Cougar Nation will continue to bring the community together. I can’t wait to get started with the staff and athletes here at Newnan High School.”
Walker comes to Newnan after serving as Head Football Coach at Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Georgia, where he led the Patriots to win three State Championships in 2012, 2010, and 2009, as well as 2nd Round State Playoff appearances in 2016, 2015, and 2009. Walker was recognized in 2013 as the Region 5 AAAA Coach of the Year, 2012 Macon Touchdown Club State Coach of the Year, and 2012 Atlanta Touchdown Club AAAA Coach of the Year.
Walker served as Head Coach at Sandy Creek since 2005, compiling a current record of 127-26-1, including four 2nd Round State Playoff appearances, two 1st Round State Playoff appearances, two State Quarterfinalist appearances, and three state championship victories. Prior to his stint at Sandy Creek as Head Coach, Walker served as Offensive Coordinator at Sandy Creek from 1999-2004, Quarterback and Linebacker Coach at Mary Persons High School from 1996-1998, and Wide Receivers Coach at Wofford College in 1995. Walker has also serves on the Georgia High School Executive Committee and is the GACA State Football Chairman.
Walker completed his undergraduate work in Business Administration at Tusculum College, obtained his Masters Degree in History, and his Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership.