Former Newnan Cougar

Zackery gets 1st head coaching job at Central-Carroll

by Doug Gorman

Former Newnan football player Rico Zackery knew he wanted to be a football coach even when he was still playing the game for the Cougars.

Zackery credits his high school coaches, especially former Newnan head coach Robert Herring, for leading him down that career path.

“He was so influential on me deciding to get into coaching,” Zackery said.

Herring’s passion has rubbed off in a big way for the 2003 Newnan graduate.

Earlier this week, Zackery was named the new head coach at Central-Carroll. Zackery takes over for Grant Chesnut, who has joined Brian Bohannon on Kennesaw State’s first coaching staff as the team’s offensive coordinator. The Owls play their first football games in 2015.

“When coach Chesnut moved on to the college level, that opened the door up for me,” Zackery said. “I am grateful for the chance.”

The former Newnan Cougar, who most recently served as the Lions’ defensive coordinator, is excited about getting the opportunity to run his own program just 10 years after graduating from high school.

“Right now I am really excited,” he said. “Central has a really strong foundation and it is something I look forward to continuing and building on through the years.”

Zackery took his game to the college level after signing a scholarship to play at Georgia Southern where he played safety for the Eagles.

The former Cougar earned a Bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern in Commercial Recreation and Tourism. He has since added a Masters Degree in Special Education from Grand Canyon University.

The Lions’ new coach joined Central in 2011 after working at Colquitt County and Riverside Military Academy.

During the 2010 season, he coached the linebackers at Colquitt County, and helped lead the Packers into the Class AAAAA title game at the Georgia Dome where they lost to Brookwood 52-38.

This past season, Central went 5-6 and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season.

“We just want to continue what we started,” he said.

He admits, upcoming spring practice will be important.

“It vital,” he said. "There will be jobs up for grabs.”

Although Zackery wants to win games and turn the school into a yearly playoff contender, he has some other goals in mind.

“We want to win games of course, but we want to influence and be good role models for our kids too,” he said. “That’s the way it was when I was coming along, and that’s the way I want it to be.”

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