Strakose returns home to Newnan to begin coaching career
by Doug Gorman
By DOUG GORMAN
Adam Strakose is out to prove you can go home again.
The former Newnan High School football All-State linebacker is back on campus at his alma mater where just a few short years ago he donned a Cougars’ jersey becoming a force on defense.
His passion and ability to play the game landed him a scholarship to the University of West Georgia where enjoyed a stellar career with the Division II school.
These days, the one-time Cougars’ star has a new role as an assistant coach under Mike McDonald, the man he once played for en route to earning Newnan Times-Herald All-County honors.
“I knew a long time ago, I wanted to be a football coach,” Strakose said. “The chance to coach back here and coach at Newnan, just makes it that much more special. There are different dreams that you have growing up and I always knew I wanted to coach. One of those dreams was to coach linebackers at Newnan. Now that has come true.”
It looked for a time, Strakose, who graduated from college back in May, would start his high school coaching career some place else.
Strakose worked over the summer at McIntosh, helping the Chiefs during workouts before a door opened for him to return to Drake Stadium.
Things fell into place for Strakose to return to Newnan when there was a shift in the school’s athletic administration in late June.
Jeff Bryant, who coached football and golf is now the athletic director at Newnan, moving into that position when Steve Allen left for East Coweta to serve as assistant principal.
The changes left a coaching vacancy allowing Strakose to join the Cougars’ coaching staff.
McDonald didn’t hesitate about calling his former player and offer him a job just months after he earned a college degree.
“I was sitting in a meeting at McIntosh when Coach McDonald called,” Strakose said. “When I was finally able to get back with him and he offered me the job I was so excited, because everything just worked out like I had hoped.”
McDonald is glad to have him on board.
“It’s good to see these guys who played for you get into coaching, but it makes you feel a little old sometimes,” McDonald said. “It just seems like yesterday when Adam was playing.”
Strakose is the second of McDonald’s former players to join his current coaching staff.
Outside linebackers coach Dustin Alley played for McDonald at Union Grove before moving on to play college football at Valdosta State.
McDonald can already tell Strakose is going to be an excellent coach.
“He was a great player, and he brings that same energy to coaching. We are glad to have him,” McDonald said.
Strakose made a name for himself during his four-year playing career at West Georgia jumping into the Wolves’ lineup as a true freshman and staying in the lineup throughout his four years while finishing with 133 career tackles. .
“It’s great for our kids to see you can go off and do some good things,” McDonald said. “For him, he just loves Newnan. There is never going to be any questions about his loyalty. He is where he wants to be.”
The new coach is a little less than nine months removed from his final game as college football player, but he goes into the new chapter of his life with his eyes wide open.
“I know I have a lot to learn,” Strakose said. “This a great coaching staff and they are really
going to be able to help me out.”
One of the biggest things a young coach like Strakose has to learn is how to be an authority figure.
“The coaches have talked to me about that,” he said. “I played with some of these guys’ brothers and cousins and some of them want to act like they really know me. It’s good to be young and able to relate to them. But at the same time they have to know I am there coach. There advantages and disadvantages.”
Strakose officially makes his assistant coaching debut Aug. 29 in the same city where he played college ball when the Cougars travel to Carrollton to take on the Trojans in the first meeting between schools since 2007, when he was a junior at Newnan.
Carrollton has won the last four meetings, which were played from 2004-07.
“It will be good to go over there,” he said. “Hopefully we can get them this time because when I was playing they beat us.”