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Etheridge dismissed as Rockdale football coach

CONYERS -- Mike Etheridge was dismissed as head football coach at Rockdale High School, principal Georgi Nour confirmed Tuesday. Nour declined to give a reason for the dismissal, but did say the school will act quickly in finding a new coach, hoping to find a replacement before the end of the month.

"Coach Etheridge will not be the head coach at Rockdale next year," Nour said. "We'll be hiring a new football coach within the next few weeks."

Etheridge was 20-24 in four seasons at the Conyers school. In 2009, Etheridge's second season, he took the Bulldogs to the first state semifinal in the program's history as the team won three consecutive road playoff games before losing to Clarke Central in the state Final Four. The 2010 season was a struggle as Rockdale slipped to 4-6 despite a defense that included all-state defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (now at Clemson) and Jerry Mathis (Samford). Rockdale defeated Winder-Barrow on opening night of the 2011 season, but lost its final nine games, including a 34-7 loss to playoff-bound Habersham Central on the final night of the regular season.

Etheridge came to Rockdale after two head coaching stints at Jackson County, where he was 18-23 from 1984-87, and at Etowah, where his teams went 4-16 from 1991-92. Etheridge also served as an assistant on the Rockdale wrestling team, which finished the 2010-11 season fourth in Class AAAA.