The Cedartown Bulldogs have a new football coach at the helm as the Polk County Board of Education approved the hire of Jamie Abrams during a special session Tuesday night.
Abrams, most recently the defensive coordinator under Franklin Stephens at McEachern, began his first day on the job Wednesday morning, meeting his new team to open the school day for players.
“I’ve been around the state of Georgia for quite some time,” Abrams said.
Abrams’ experience includes a stint as a head coach at Lamar County for two years after he came up into the position as Stephens’ defensive coordinator. He also worked with Stephens at Ware County before both came to McEachern prior to the 2019 season, while also making stops at East Paulding, South Paulding and a pair of programs in Alabama, Woodland and Wadley.
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity. It is something I’ve been praying about with my wife and family for a long time,” Abrams said. “I’m ready to get in here and get going.”
Though a native of Woodland, Alabama, Abrams moved around and ended up playing high school football in Arkansas as a linebacker, later moving up to college ball where he played as a safety at Arkansas-Monticello and Minnesota State.
Abrams said he has always been familiar with Cedartown, having grown up an hour away across the state line.
“I know that it is a good football place, and a good family-oriented community,” he said.
Abrams will be moving to Cedartown with his wife, Katie, who is also an educator, and their three sons, Jett, Drake and Trace.
“They’re extremely excited about being here,” Abrams said. “That’s one thing that attracted us to Cedartown, that it’s a family-oriented place. It’s a chance for them to have a place to call home. That’s our No. 1 thing right now is to provide a family atmosphere, not only for our family but really for the community and have some pride in Cedartown.
“I think it is the type of place that can happen, and football is a way to generate some excitement.”
Abrams’ hopes are to get the team back to work in the spring, and his first official outing as the new head coach of the Bulldogs will come in August when the team faces Carrollton in the Corky Kell Classic.
Abrams spent time with players briefly and got the chance to introduce himself before letting them get back to their morning routine in the weight room.
“I gave them an idea of what to expect and let them get to work,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing we can be doing in January, is working in the weight room. They’ve done an excellent job of that.”
His philosophy coming into the team is “it’s not what you do, but how you do it” when it comes to his new team.
“Offensively, I think you’ve got to evaluate your personnel and put them in the best position to move the ball and score points, so we’ll evaluate that,” he said. “Defensively, we’ve been multiple on defense, too. There have been times and years where we were supposed to be a three-man front, but we’ve been a four man front 40% of the time. It’s all about what we’ve got to do to move the ball and stop people. We’ll be multiple probably on both sides of the ball.”
He is excited about the level of talent the Bulldogs have currently and coming onto the squad when the 2020 season starts.
“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t excited about that,” Abrams said. “I see tremendous potential.”
Abrams comes into the job with a 15-7-1 record during his two seasons in 2014 and ’15 at the helm of Lamar County, where he went to the second round of the Class AA playoffs in his opening year as head coach, and the first round in his second.
Abrams comes into the Cedartown job to fill the role left open when athletic director Doyle Kelley was let go from the coaching duties in early December. His three seasons in the job saw the Bulldogs go 20-14 with back-to-back playoff appearances, but the past two seasons have seen Cedartown knocked out in first-round play and end the year with 5-6 records.