If E.K. Slaughter was looking for a new challenge, he certainly found one.
Slaughter has resigned after two years as Red Bank High School's head football coach to take over the young program at Heritage in Catoosa County, Ga. He has previous head coaching experience at established programs Cleveland and Soddy-Daisy but now takes over the Generals, who in six years of existence have a 14-66 overall record.
"It was a real tough decision to leave Red Bank, because I'm close to the kids and coaches there," Slaughter said. "This was just a decision I felt was best for my family, and I'm excited to get down there and get started.
"It's a combination of a great community with great people at Heritage. It'll be an adjustment since I've coached for so long in Chattanooga, but at the end of the day it's still just coaching football. I know they've struggled recently, but I think they've got a good group of kids who play hard. Our first step is to give them confidence and make the kids believe they can win."
More than 40 coaches applied for the job, and nine received interviews. Slaughter was chosen from among four finalists, all with previous head coaching experience. He takes over for Tim James, who had been the only coach in Heritage's history.
After a 7-3 finish in 2011, the Generals' only winning season, they were a combined 1-19 the last two seasons.
Slaughter, whose career record is 29-35, including 3-7 this past season at Red Bank, earned a reputation for wide-open offenses as the Lions' play-caller under Tim Daniels. In his first head coaching job he guided Soddy-Daisy to an 8-4 record and to the second round of the state playoffs in 2008. He then led Cleveland for three seasons before taking over at Red Bank and now will begin a career in the Peach State.
"I didn't know much about him before the interview, but we were all blown away by his intensity, vision and charisma during the process," said Heritage principal Ronnie Bradford. "I was impressed with him as a man and the type leader we believe we need to take our program to the level it needs to be."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.