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South Pittsburg, Boyd-Buchanan, McMinn Central, Bradley Central an East Ridge scrimmage on Friday at Bradley Central.

CORRECTION: This story was updated at 11:07 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, to correct Wilson's overall record to 88-49. A previous version of the story erroneously stated it as 81-45. Updated again at 8:25 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

Coahulla Creek High School didn't have to look very far to find its new football coach. Danny Wilson, who has been the Colts' defensive coordinator the past three seasons, informed school administrators Tuesday that he accepted an offer to take over the program.

Wilson takes over for Caleb Bagley, who resigned in December.

"The faculty, coaching staff and kids are really the big reason I decided that the timing was right for me to get back into being a head coach," Wilson said. "I've grown very attached to this program, and I'm excited to get started trying to build on what Caleb began here.

"He changed the culture here and did a tremendous job, and that's another huge reason I decided to take the job. The kids already know what the expectations are in terms of the work needed to get the program going in the right direction."

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Cleveland coach Danny Wilson.

Wilson has been a head coach previously at Cleveland, Maryville Heritage and South Pittsburg, where he won the Class 1A state championship in 1994. He also won a state title as the Pirates' baseball coach in 1996, guided the girls' basketball program one step shy of the state tournament and was the school's principal for four years.

"Leadership has always been a part of who I am," Wilson added. "I would compare what we're trying to do here with the Heritage program that I worked at. Heritage hadn't had a winning season in 12 years, including several 1-9 and 0-10 finishes, but we got them into the playoffs and were 7-4 by my second year.

"It's a challenge. This is still a relatively new program, and I know the amount of work our staff and players will need to put in. I've been in it long enough to know that when you do things the right way, that's when success follows."

He has compiled an 88-49 overall record in 12 years as a head coach and has been a coordinator for 14 seasons, including at Cleveland and South Pittsburg, where he produced stingy defenses and helped win another state title for the Pirates in 2010. He was also an assistant on a Cleveland girls' basketball team that reached the Class AAA state tournament three times in his four years, and during his four years at Heritage he guided the Mountaineers to two wins — including a shutout — over perennial powerhouse Maryville High.

Coahulla Creek has has won just nine games over the past nine years, including a 2-8 finish last season.

"First, Danny is just an awesome man for our kids to be around," Coahulla Creek principal Tracy Mardis said. "His knowledge of football is up there among the best I've ever seen, but the way he builds relationships with kids and how he motivates them is just as impressive.

"He wants our kids to be the best they can be, and he knows how to push them to get there. This was an easy decision for us, and we're very excited about the future."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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