East Hamilton names Aaron Nance as new head football coach

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / East Hamilton football players break through the banner before a game at Ooltewah on Aug. 19, 2022.
Staff photo by Olivia Ross / East Hamilton football players break through the banner before a game at Ooltewah on Aug. 19, 2022.

East Hamilton High School has named Aaron Nance as its new football coach.

Although this will be his first varsity head coaching job, Nance was the offensive coordinator at Georgia's Flowery Branch last fall and has worked in that same role at four other high school programs.

He helped guide Grayson to the GHSA Class AAAAAAA state championship in 2020, and during his two years there the program compiled a 25-2 overall record.

“We went through a four-step process over the past few weeks to interview candidates, and every time we spoke with him he just came across as having such a top-notch football mind, so we felt like he was the best choice,” East Hamilton principal Brent Eller said. “He listed nine references, and each one that we called raved about not only his football IQ but also his high-level character, so that sold us on him."

Nance also has been the offensive coordinator at Georgia programs Pickens (2021) and North Paulding (2016-18), as well as at Chattanooga's Notre Dame (2012-15).

A 2011 Soddy-Daisy High School graduate, Nance said the opportunity to return home to work under an administrator he is already familiar with piqued his interest, and the level of success East Hamilton’s program has already had helped convince him it would be a good fit.

“Coming home is a really big deal for me,” Nance said. “Mr. Eller was my principal at Loftis Middle School, so that combination of coming back to a place near where I grew up, and knowing the administration, plus the community support here, this program checked all the boxes for me.

“I have a lot of respect for the men who coached this program before me. I know Coach (Ted) Gatewood built the program and Coach (Grant) Reynolds also was a great leader. We’ll look to maximize the talent we have, and the ability to adapt to the roster each year will be the key to our success.”

Nance takes over for Reynolds, who stepped down in February to accept an offer to take over the Chattanooga Christian program. During the past four seasons under Reynolds, East Hamilton went 32-15, including 21-3 against region competition, and the Hurricanes reached the TSSAA Class 4A quarterfinals last season.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com.