Newton schools see 10 coaching changes
Roper steps down as Rams' baseball coach after nine seasons

COVINGTON - The face of sports for the upcoming year will be different in Newton County as 10 high school sports teams will have new head coaches.

Stepping down at Alcovy are Suzanne Smith (volleyball and girls basketball), Joe Mobley (baseball), Troy Davis (boys tennis) and Michael Ebel (boys soccer).

Another change will affect the Alcovy girls soccer team as this year's coach Chris Edgar will move over to coach the boys team for

Ebel, who will is leaving to become the boys soccer coach at Grayson.

Alcovy athletics director Chris Haymore said all of the changes were decisions made by the coaches and that each of the coaches leaving had the support of the administration.

Departing at Newton are Billy Roper (baseball), Chris Andrews (wrestling) and Gus Condon (boys golf).

The only change for Eastside will be at boys tennis with Vance Owens stepping down at his request.

Smith, who is moving to Iowa, will be replaced by Amanda Briggs in volleyball with Kidada Holtzclaw taking over the girls basketball duties.

"I am leaving because I was offered a head volleyball coaching position in Red Oak, Iowa, which is closer to my family," Smith said. "I'll miss the girls on both volleyball and basketball and I want to remind them to stay positive."

Melinda Morrow will take over for Davis, who will be an assistant principal at Alcovy. Softball coach Casey Bates will also take over the baseball duties.

While Mobley is leaving to spend more time with his family, conflict toward the end of the season also helped him make his decision.

"There was just too much conflict with some parents. They didn't make it any fun," Mobley said. "The administration was very supportive, but I just had some conflict with some parents and it didn't work out."

While the team only won 10 games in their first two seasons under Mobley, he feels that the progress made indicates the Tigers are heading in the right direction as a program.

"To me, it means that we were doing the right things as coaches. We put kids in the position to win and we made improvement from one year to the next," Mobley said. "I'm going to miss working with the kids. Baseball is a game of integrate little things. You can't learn it all in one day or one year. It's a continuous learning process. I'm going to miss the talking of baseball, the learning of baseball, the continual learning process that goes a long with it."

The Newton positions for baseball and boys golf are still open while assistant coach Wes Cooper will more than likely replace Andrews in wrestling

Roper is leaving after being at Newton for 10 years, nine as head coach in baseball. While the decision to leave was not an easy one, he felt that it was time for him to go because of family and because of his career.

"Football is very dear to me and I need to get somewhere where I could still grow as a football coach because I still have a dream of becoming a head football coach. It's a step up even though it's an assistant position. North Cobb is one of the better programs in the state," Roper said. "That and with my mother and her illness it allows me to get closer to home. That's what led up to the decision."

In nine years as Newton's baseball coach, Roper led his team to the state playoffs in six seasons.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.