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January 27, 2014

Lindsey accepts head coaching job at Cook

TIFTON — For the second time since 2006, the Irwin County Indians have lost their head football coach to Cook High School.

In 2006, Jute Wilson left Irwin to become an assistant principal at Cook, and now Jon Lindsey has left Irwin to become the new head football coach of the Cook High Hornets.

Lindsey, a Paulding County native, replaces another Paulding County native, Ken Cofer, as the Hornets head coach. Cofer is now at Bacon County.

“It’s always tough to leave, especially when you care about folks,” said Lindsey, about his departure. “I have made a lot of good friends here.”

Irwin went 10-2-1 under Lindsey in 2013, his third year at the school. The Indians were within two missed extra points of playing for a state championship.

That is after Irwin went 3-7 in 2011, and 7-4 in 2012.

Irwin school superintendent Bobby Conner said Lindsey “definitely left us in good shape.”

“They are financially in good shape, the equipment is in good shape and the program is in good shape,” Lindsey said.

Before publicly announcing his departure, Lindsey held a meeting with the Irwin players Monday morning to tell them of his move.

“That meeting went well with the kids, but we all hate to see him go,” said Conner. “But we thought this day would come, because Jon is one of the hottest young coaches in the state.

“The thing about Jon is while the wins are nice, he helped make the young men and young women that were around him into better people.”

Lindsey said, “That meeting was tough. This is a good group of kids here.”

Even with that, “the Cook job was a good fit. They have a good tradition, good kids and an eye on where they wanted to go. I also like the fact they are between Tifton and Valdosta,” he added.

While Cook has a new head coach, the Indians will now begin their search for its new head “chief.”

“We will get a committee together, and we will probably post the opening online Wednesday,” said Conner.

“I will probably be heading to Cook shortly. I am assuming (Irwin principal) Keary (Billingsley) will want to move pretty fast to get a new guy in quick,” said Lindsey.

While Lindsey added he will be one of Irwin’s biggest fans in the upcoming years, Conner said he appreciated the work Lindsey had done in Ocilla.

“We just want to wish Jon, (his wife) Melissa and their family well,” said Conner.

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