It took a number of months, but when Girls Preparatory School officials found their new soccer coach, they did so in grand fashion.
Patrick Winecoff, who coaches the Chattanooga Football Club women's team, recently accepted the GPS position of director of soccer operations and will serve as the new coach starting in the fall semester.
It will be Winecoff's first high school head coaching job, but he has much experience coaching in the Chattanooga area. He has directed the East Ridge Express under-18 girls' team since 1999 and has been involved in the Tennessee Olympic Development Program since 2005. He also served stints as a boys' assistant at Baylor in 2003 and at Covenant College, his alma mater, from 2000 to '05.
He replaces Leland Strang, who was 34-13-5 in three seasons as GPS's head coach but has moved over to Baylor, her alma mater. The Bruisers were Division II-AA state runners-up in 2012 and quarterfinalists in 2011 and 2013.
"There were several families I coached in club that suggested that GPS talk to me about this job, and also pushed me to talk to them [GPS] as well," Winecoff said. "I've had a passion for soccer for a long time, and I've been interested in being able to coach.
"It's a great opportunity."
Andy Sarjant, who assists Winecoff with the CFC women and coached the boys at Signal Mountain for two seasons, will be an assistant at GPS, along with Kim Brock, Adam Hudson, Brooks Imel and lacrosse coach Caroline Carlin.
"We're excited to see what this group can do," GPS athletic director Stacey Hill said. "The process was very time-consuming, and it was a tough decision, but we've known Patrick for a while and we're happy that he's going to be able to run the show for us."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.