THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - The Thomasville City School Board unanimously voted to hire former Gilmer head coach Zach Grage as the Bulldogs' new head football coach Friday morning.
Grage and his family were in attendance for the special meeting in Thomasville.
Grage will begin as the new head football coach on February 1, and says he's excited to be back in south Georgia.
"Being in north Georgia for a year, you really take for granted the focus that's put on football down here," Grage says. "The opportunity to come back here near friends and family, and take over a program with as much storied tradition as Thomasville, you can't pass that up."
Grage spent one season as the head coach at Gilmer High last season. He led the Bobcats to a 4-6 record in 2015, and says that one year taught him a lot.
"I know I took my lumps. There's things I'm not going to do again. There's things I'm going to do better," he says. "I'm excited to start over with what we did up in Gilmer."
Before heading to Gilmer, Grage spent six seasons as an assistant at Colquitt County. He was the Packers' offensive coordinator in 2014 when they went 15-0 and won the AAAAAA state title.
He says one focus for the program moving forward is getting kids excited about playing football again.
"The biggest thing is making football fun, and getting kids out of the hallways," Grage says. "Let's get the kids that only play one sport, and let's get them playing two or three. At a AA school, we've got to be able to share kids, and we can share some of the success the basketball program's having right now. I'm a big believer that a program's success is for the whole school."
Grage says his main priority at this moment is moving his family down, but once he starts at THS, the Dogs will get started in the weight room.
"That's going to set the tone for the entire program. Strength and conditioning is something we're going to pride ourselves on," he says. "We want to win the fourth quarter, dominate the second half like everybody says. But it's a full game mentality, and we have to take that mentality right into the weight room."
The Bulldogs finished 1-8 in 2015, the worst season in the long history of the program. Grage says he's ready to help get the program back to it's proud days.