Rhea County High School will be bringing in a whole lot of new to the 2013 football season.
It will be opening a brand-new building and will be playing in a new district as the Golden Eagles move to 6-AAA, and they will be starting their second season on their artificial turf field.
And they will be doing it all with a new football coach.
Doug Greene, the coach for the past two seasons, stepped down Thursday to become Ooltewah's defensive coordinator for head coach Mac Bryan. Greene held the same position at Ooltewah from 2006 to '09 under Benny Monroe and then spent a year as the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at Carson-Newman College before his two seasons as Rhea County head coach.
He will start immediately at Ooltewah as a United States history teacher, in his old classroom.
"Basically, Ooltewah made me an offer I couldn't refuse," Greene said. "Personally, there are possibly some opportunities outside of coaching there.
"Today's a mixed day of emotions for me. I just couldn't pass up this opportunity."
Rhea showed marked improvement during his time, although his 3-17 record might not indicate that. The Golden Eagles' 2012 schedule included seven teams that advanced to the state playoffs, including Knoxville Powell (Class 5A semifinalist) and Fulton (Class 4A state champion). Rhea's season ended on a high note with a win over Cleveland, Greene's alma mater -- spoiling the Blue Raiders' playoff hopes.
"I knew this would be a two-year process," Greene said. "I think the boys are ready to win; they've reaped the rewards of their hard work."
Greene spoke highly of Rhea principal Jesse Messimer, as well as superintendent Jerry Lovingood and athletic director Micah Ruehling.
Rhea's next coach will be its fourth in the past 22 months. Ruehling said the process to find a replacement would begin immediately.
"I know it's a tough situation, but our program is in good shape," he said. "We hate to see Doug leave, but we have to turn our attention to the future of Rhea County football.
"Whoever takes the job will have a strong team with a lot of returning players. It's an exciting time for us and will be a really good opportunity for someone."