After head coach Brad Lofton stepped down from the job, Southeast Whitfield High School has named assistant Chad Ikerd the new head baseball coach for the Raiders.
Lofton stepped down after leading the Raiders for 12 seasons. Lofton's son, Bryson, was a senior on the 2021 squad. Ikerd has been a Southeast assistant for three years.
"I've talked about it a lot this year with coach Lofton," Ikerd said. "He decided pretty early on in the season that he wanted to step down, so it's something that we've kind of been talking about this whole year before we let anyone know. We told the kids at the end of the season."
"He was great at building relationships with the kids," Ikerd said of Lofton. "That's something that I want to take away from him as I get started. We've got a really good group of kids. After we told them, almost every returning player came up to me and asked when we could get started."
Ikerd is a Lawrenceville native, and he played infield on the baseball team at Shorter University. He was a community assistant coach at Christian Heritage School before landing at Southeast. It will be Ikerd's first head coaching job.
"I never really saw myself doing much else other than being in baseball," Ikerd said. "That's always been my ultimate goal is to be a head coach, and it's something I've been preparing for."
Now that he's been named the head coach, Ikerd said his next goal is to build a state contender at Southeast.
"I'm looking forward to changing the culture around here," Ikerd said. "We're not exactly looked at as a baseball powerhouse. I'm not saying we're going to come in and start winning state championships right away, because that's obviously a process. I want to make sure that we at Southeast kind of put our stamp on baseball."
He's the husband of Kelsey Ikerd, the head volleyball coach at Northwest Whitfield. Kelsey Ikerd led the Lady Bruins to an appearance in the state finals in 2020.
"She's definitely had a little more success than I have so far," Ikerd joked.