The Cedartown Bulldogs have a new football coach at the helm at the Polk County Board of Education approved the hire during a special session on Tuesday night.
Jamie Abrams, most recently the defensive coordinator at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, began his first day on the job this 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.
His experience includes a stint as a head coach at Lamar County for two years after he came up into the position from the defensive coordinator role, Ware County, Woodland High School in Alabama, East and South Paulding High Schools, Wadley in Alabama and Lamar County. During his tenure at Lamar, the school made its first appearance in the state championship in 2013.
“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, Abrams moved around and ended up playing high school football in Arkansas as a linebacker, and later moved up to college ball where he played as a Safety. That time was spent at the University of Arkansas-Monticello and later with Minnesota State.
He holds a B.S. in Physical Education from Minnesota State, and later attended Jacksonville State where he earned an M.S. and Ed. S. in Physical Education as well.
Abrams said he’s 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 his 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 added.
His 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.”
“It’s all about the personnel. That’s the big thing to evaluate the personnel and figure out what we need to do,” Abrams added.
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.”
He said he’ll expect his new squad to work hard in every aspect of their lives.
“Our whole mission is relentless effort on and off the field,” Abrams said. “That’s our mission statement. I also talked to them about in the classroom as well, because if you’re not doing your job in the classroom, you can’t pursue playing college or in high school football. So you’ve got to do your job there, in the weight room and at home. All that translates to your character, and you are who you are.”
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. His one year at Wadley saw him put up a 5-6 record with a playoff appearance in the first round.
The new head coach at Cedartown comes into the job to fill the role left open when Athletic Director Doyle Kelley was let go from those duties back 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.
Abrams comes into a 2020 season under a new region alignment in 7-4A that includes Central Carroll, Heritage-Catoosa, Northwest Whitfield, Pickens, Ridgeland and Southeast Whitfield. The Bulldogs will also have two tough tests to start the season in the Corky Kell Classic in Rome against Carrollton, and then right after facing rival Rockmart.