Wednesday was National Signing Day, and another batch of athletes prepares to move on to the next challenge of their lives. Friday morning brought news that Sandy Creek football is about to embark on its own new era with the announcement that head coach Chip Walker is leaving for Newnan High School.
“It’s exciting to take on a new challenge, especially at a storied program with a lot of history. It’ll be my job to make them successful again,” said Walker. “It feels like a great opportunity down at Newnan, and it’s something me and my family couldn’t pass up.”
Walker led the Patriots to three state championships and a 127-26-1 record, turning the program into a prolific producer of college talent. Recently released statistics showed that, among all high schools in Georgia, Sandy Creek had the third most players on college football rosters last year.
His success was the continuation of a family dynasty at the school. Chip’s father, Rodney, coached Sandy Creek from 1999-2004 before handing the reigns over to his son. Walker calls the decision a bittersweet one.
“It was awfully emotional leaving. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life,” said Walker. “Sandy Creek holds a special place in my heart and in my family’s heart. The people there, the administration, the community, everybody’s been nothing but good to me.”
Newnan finished the 2016 season with a 3-7 record, their first season in the newly-created 7A classification.
“We could not be more excited to welcome Chip and his family to the Cougar Nation,” said Newnan High School Principal Dr. Chase Puckett in a press release. “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.”
“This is a great day for Newnan High School and the start of a new chapter in our football program,” said Newnan Athletic Director Jeff Bryant. “Chip has the experience and the commitment to tradition and excellence to lead us forward.”