Rockdale High School hires new football coach

— Rockdale High School has its new football coach. The school officially announced the hiring of Venson Elder Tuesday, ending a month-long search.

Elder comes to the Conyers school from Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee where he was an assistant on the football team and head track and field coach.

“His quality, working with students, that’s what we found across the board and in the interview. We did a panel interview, all of us agreed that he’d be the best for our boys,” said Rockdale principal Georgi Nour. “He is very meticulous but very committed (and) when he talks to the student athletes you can just tell the commitment and the respect he has of the kids, and the kids have already gained in him as well…just the commitment that I’ve already seen and he’s shown to our kids.”

Nour admitted the program has to play a bit of catch up as there wasn’t a coach in place during spring practice.

“Usually you already have (a head coach) in place in spring, so we’re having to plan a little differently,” Nour said. “Very glad to have our program up and facilitated, we’re up and running. Right now we are going to three days a week and on Tuesdays and Thursdays just working with individual players.”

Elder takes over for Mario Allen, who was dismissed in April after alleged ethical violations, which included recruiting and practice violations. Mike Etheridge, who was head coach at Rockdale for four seasons, was not retained after the 2011 season ended in November.

Rockdale opens its season August 31 at rival Salem.