BLAKELY, GA (WALB) - The Early County Bobcats are turning to one of their own to take over the football program.
Joel Harvin was approved by the Early County School Board as the Bobcats' new head football coach Tuesday night.
"Being from Blakely, you understand how tradition-rich it is, and how important football is," Harvin told WALB over the phone Tuesday night. "Early County is one of the best jobs in south Georgia."
Harvin will take over the program he played for from the coach he played for. Trey Woolf retired in January after 16 seasons leading the Bobcats. Harvin says he spoke with Woolf throughout the process, and the longtime coach was very supportive of his former player's interest in the job.
This will be Harvin's first head coaching gig, and he says he's ready to get going.
"I think that's the most exciting thing right now is just getting in and getting to meet the guys," Harvin says.
The Bobcats went 1-8-1 in 2016, finishing fifth in Region 1-AA. Harvin says his goal for the program is to boost the Early County program back to competitiveness in a stacked region.
"The region might be one of the toughest regions all across the board. You got your Brooks Counties, your Berriens, your Fitzgeralds, and your Thomasvilles," he says. "I can honestly say that we're going to come in and we're going to work. We're going to try and shoot for one of those four playoff spots."
The Bobcats' new head coach is excited to return to his hometown, and says he hopes to bring the excitement of Bobcat football back to Blakely.
"Be excited. Be ready to support us," he says. "That's what's going to have to happen. We're going to have to have community support. We're going to have to work. We're going to have to start winning games if we want to get this thing back on track to where we want it to be."