Things are going to look a lot different when the three Monroe County football teams take the field this fall.
With Sequoyah High School’s recent hiring of Ryan Bolinger, each local program will have a new head coach roaming its sidelines during the upcoming season.
One is an administrator now returning to the field, one is a longtime assistant finally given a chance to lead a team and one is a younger coach with a strong resume and community passion.
Here’s a recap of how the football coaching carousel played out for Monroe County this offseason:
After four seasons at the helm of the Wildcats, former Sweetwater head coach Ethan Edmiston resigned this offseason. The program made the playoffs three times during his tenure, but finished 2018 with a 2-8 record.
Edmiston’s overall record with the Wildcats was 19-23.
With Edmiston’s departure, Sweetwater Athletic Director Mike Martin went a little bit farther than overseeing a replacement: he took up the challenge himself.
“I hope that my five years as athletic director would help me be able to have a better insight to kids that participate in athletics in all areas,” Martin told The Advocate and Democrat in November of 2018. “As an athletic director, you do see some things from the outside looking in.
“It doesn’t mean they’re wrong or right, but you get different versions of it. Hopefully being an athletic director will make me a better football coach.”
And Martin isn’t a stranger to coaching, either; he previously had success as head coach at Meigs County and East Ridge, notching records of 29-15 with the Tigers and 22-21 with the Pioneers, respectively.
Longtime high school coach John Mullinax retired from Tellico Plains following the 2018 season, a year in which the Bears finished at 2-8. He had been there since 2012, accumulating a 23-49-1 record with the Bears.
Jon Rechtorovic was hired by Tellico Plains in March to replace Mullinax. And he has a sizeable resume of his own.
Rechtorovic is an experienced defensive coordinator, having served in the role at Georgia schools Turner County, Henry County, Perry County and Americus Sumter High School. He’s been an assistant in the high school game for over 20 years.
“My plan is just to hold (the players) accountable more,” Rechtorovic told The Advocate and Democrat in March. “Just push them to be what they can be. I think we have a good group coming back. The coaches did a good job in the past. We’re going to do some things differently and try to advance and get better from there.
“I want to make sure that we’re making good men, good quality men in this community. We can let our work on the field speak for itself going forward, but I want to make sure we’re making good men.”
Former head coach Bobby White resigned from Sequoyah in May after four seasons at the helm and a 17-25 overall record in order to focus more on his family.
In hiring Bolinger as his replacement, Sequoyah got a head coach with a stronger resume than most of his peers can claim.
Bolinger previously served as a graduate assistant and assistant to the head coach at the University of Tennessee, as well as a quarterback analyst for the Cleveland Browns, an assistant at Grace Christian Academy and head coach for Concord Christian’s developing program.
“After spending time with (Principal Debi) Tipton and (Athletic Director) Justin (Miller), I felt like it would just be a great fit,” Bolinger said.
He also will be helped out by a staff that knows the program, as multiple members of White’s staff will return, including experienced assistants Lance McConkey and Dustin Peels.
“A lot of support from the community, the administration, coaches,” Bolinger said. “Enjoyed my first week here working with the players.”