Scott Ramsey’s lineup card is full again.
Southeast High’s athletic director has filled the head coaching positions for girls basketball and softball, hiring two names familiar to those programs’ followers.
“It’s a very good feeling to have,” Ramsey said, “to know that we were able to get quality people in those positions and to know that all our positions are filled so we can get started with all of our summer programs now.”
Jeff McDonald will coach Lady Raiders basketball, while Craig Brock will take over softball. As current teachers at the school, both will step into their duties quickly.
McDonald, 49, served as an assistant under Rusty Brewer — who resigned following the season for a job in his hometown — for the past two years. A native of Rome who graduated from Armuchee High in 1976, McDonald has worked in the Whitfield County school system for almost 20 years.
“We’re getting somebody who’s very knowledgeable about our kids,” Ramsey said, “somebody who’s committed to our school and our basketball program, and that give us a sense of continuity.”
Brock, 25, assisted with football, baseball and softball since coming to Southeast two years ago, following his graduation from the University of West Georgia. He teaches physical education at the school.
“He’s a very enthusiastic young coach,” Ramsey said. “He’s coached softball for us, he coaches baseball right now and he works great with kids. He’s very knowledgeable about the game and he gives us that stability we need and that opportunity to move forward.”
Brock’s hire comes a little more than a week after the resignation of Heather Randolph, who led the program for three seasons. Randolph’s decision came on the heels of some players’ parents meeting with Ramsey and Southeast principal Alan Long.
Randolph was not asked to resign, though, and had the support of some parents within the program.
The possibility of division within those ranks did not seem to overly concern Brock.
“We’re having a parent meeting next Thursday,” Brock said. “My job here is not coaching parents. My main focus is these kids and the success these kids are going to have.”
Brock, who grew up in Kennesaw, helped coach freshman football and baseball at Southeast while helping coach boys basketball at Valley Point this school year. In his first year, he was a baseball and softball assistant at the high school.
Brock had already planned to help coach softball this year before being offered the top position. He believes his familiarity should help the Lady Raiders, who went 14-17-1 and missed the state tourney last year after winning 18 games and advancing to state sectionals in 2005.
“I’m glad to get the opportunity to coach these girls,” Brock said, “... I met with the girls this morning and it was good, just because they know me. It was good to see their smiling faces when I walked in there.”
Brock will be assisted by Chris Anderson, Carrie Burch and Kelley Barton, a former Lady Raider and a community coach who served as an assistant under Randolph last year.
“I’m really comfortable with them,” Brock said. “I think we get along pretty good together.”
Brock said the Lady Raiders will hit plenty this summer and focus on defense, believing that coupled with the pitching of rising senior Chelsea Krafft should boost Southeast’s bid to return to state.
McDonald, who teaches technology at Southeast, spent two years teaching at Pepperell High in Lindale after graduating from Berry College.
Seeking a change, he joined the Marine Corps and spent four years in active duty before entering the reserves.
He began teaching at Eastbrook Middle in 1986 and stayed there — save a stint serving in Operation Desert Storm when he was called to active duty — until moving to Southeast midway through the 2005-06 school year.
McDonald has also coached, refereed and worked for the Whitfield County Recreation Department. While at Eastbrook, he assisted with football and held head coaching positions for girls basketball, boys basketball and track at various times.
McDonald coached the Lady Raiders freshman basketball team this past season — and that’s one reason he’s excited about the opportunity to lead the program.
“We’ve got a lot of good kids that will work hard,” McDonald said. “We had a freshman group this year that blew me away. They ended up going .500, but to be honest, I didn’t think they would win a game to start with. They kept on going and we kept on pushing them — the harder you push kids, the more they’ll respond.”
McDonald said his experience as a Marine has influenced his coaching, but that he avoids yelling and screaming criticism.
“I’m a real energetic coach,” he said. “I’m constantly on my feet, I don’t sit down, but I try to encourage.”
Southeast went 7-18 last season and lost its first-round game in the Region 7-4A Tournament.
McDonald is focused on keeping kids at the school’s feeder programs interested in becoming Lady Raiders and pushing his own team to play up-tempo offense and pressure defense.
“We will not be outhustled,” McDonald said. “I can promise you that.”
He’s also excited about keeping together the same staff, save Brewer, from last season — Burch and Barton will assist him.
McDonald has been married to his wife, Paige, for 20 years. He has three children, all former or current Southeast athletes.
Brooke, a sophomore at Southeast, plays volleyball and basketball for the Lady Raiders. Morgan, a Dalton State College student, played softball and tennis and ran track for the Lady Raiders, while Chris, who’s at North Georgia College, was a four-year letterman in football, wrestling, baseball and track.
Scott Ramsey’s lineup card is full again.