For the Calhoun boys basketball team, the face that led them to a Region 7-AA championship this season will now be there on a more permanent basis.
Three coaching hires were announced at Calhoun High this week as George Hoblitzell was named the new defensive coordinator and Terry Morrow was hired as a defensive assistant to complete head coach Hal Lamb’s staff for the 2013 season, and Vince Layson, who had served as the interim head coach this season for the Calhoun boys basketball team after Derrick Broom was placed on leave in November, was given the full-time position.
Hoblitzell, who has over 40 years of coaching experience, comes back to Calhoun after serving as an assistant at Rome High the past couple years. He was an assistant for the Jackets prior to that, and he was also a head coach in Alabama for 24 years followed by a five year run as head coach at Dade County and a six-year run as head coach at Lumpkin County. He has 224 career wins combined as a head coach in Alabama and Georgia.
He takes over for Ricky Ross, who was named the head coach at South Pittsburg (Tenn.) in January.
“(Coach Hoblitzell) has worked here before, and he’s about as good as there is as a coach,” said Lamb, Calhoun’s football coach and Athletic Director. “He’s been around and knows the game, and he’s the kind of coach you want on your staff. He loves the game, and I think he’ll do a tremendous job.”
Morrow comes to Calhoun from Cedartown where he spent the last few years as an assistant coach.
“We interviewed him and he is a very solid coach,” said Lamb. “He will fit right in with our defense, and he has worked with coach Hoblitzell before so having those two guys is a big bonus for our staff. I feel very good about those two guys coming on board.”
Layson led the Jackets to an 18-6 record this past season and the team’s first region championship since 2002. The team advanced to the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated by Manchester last Saturday.
Lamb said after a season like that, the decision was easy.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Lamb. “He stepped into a tough situation with the interim job and had a tremendous year. I’m confident he will do a great job, and we’re excited about having him lead our boys program.”
Layson, who has been an assistant and JV coach at Calhoun for the last six years before taking over as interim head coach this season, said he’s excited about the opportunity to remain as head coach of the boys’ program.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to be able to coach alongside the players that have toed the front lines with me on different levels,” said Layson. “We all have relationships that go beyond the game of basketball, and I enjoy being a part of their high school experience.”
Layson added that his team has to continue working to have sustained success as a program.
“We have definitely set a solid base and level of expectation for our basketball program this year,” said Layson. “As a collective group, we have to remember what brought us success this year, and we have to build upon it to be a consistent contender. A region championship and a Sweet 16 appearance is definitely a step in the right direction; but being complacent isn’t an option. This year’s team put Calhoun basketball back on the map, and we intend on keeping it there.”
Hoblitzell, who has lived in Calhoun since retiring from teaching several years ago, said the opportunity to help coach the Yellow Jackets and also being able to be on the same staff with this son Tommie, the linebackers and strength and conditioning coach, is one he couldn’t pass up.
“I’m excited about coming back to Calhoun,” said Hoblitzell. “I helped coach there for three years, and excited to get back to be around the coaches and players. Especially the coaches, I can’t wait to get back and work with those guys again.
“It’s very special to work with Tommie again. He does a tremendous job on the field and in the strength and conditioning program. Working with him will be special, and also working with (assistant coaches) Chase Arnold, Keith Hall and Terry Morrow, who I’ve all worked with before will be great. We’re all familiar with each other, we’re excited about working together again as a part of Calhoun football.”
Hoblitzell said he isn’t going to shake things up all that much, but rather continue the strong tradition already established.
“We’re really going to preach fundamentals and playing hard,” said Hoblitzell. “Those are things Calhoun football is based on, and I think the coaches we have here are all solid, fundamental football coaches.
“We just want to continue what they’ve been doing with not a whole lot of changes. We just want to continue to work hard and continue winning.”