Koester was approved by the Paulding County School Board on Tuesday and hired as the new head football coach at South Paulding High School.
“It’s the best birthday present I’ve had in 30 years,” said Koester, who celebrated his 58th birthday last week.
The former South Cobb coach takes over for Tim Glanton, who recently resigned to become an assistant under Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon.
Koester will take over a 7-year-old South Paulding program that is 29-33 all time. The Spartans, however, are coming off three straight 6-4 seasons, the last of which came in Region 5AAAAA with the likes of Allatoona, East Paulding, Rome, North Paulding and Hiram.
“It’s an exhilarating feeling,” Koester said about starting his fifth head-coaching job, on a resume that includes stops at Cherokee, Arlington Heights (Texas) and Bixby (Okla.), “but now it creates a whole new set of anxieties.”
The anxieties Koester was talking about was getting in sync with coaches and players with spring practice over and school letting out for the summer. He was scheduled to meet with the coaches, players and booster club Tuesday after the approval of his hiring.
Koester resigned in January after five years as South Cobb’s coach. At the time, he said the long commute to Austell from his Cherokee County home had gotten to be too much, and that he wanted to spend more time with his family. But other people with knowledge of the program told the Journal that Koester was pushed out as the Eagles’ coach.
Now, unless he moves to Paulding County, it looks like the commute to South Paulding’s Douglasville campus will be even further.
Koester went 26-27 during his tenure at South Cobb, but the Eagles played their best football after a pair of 2-8 seasons. In the last three years, South Cobb went 22-11, qualified for the postseason twice and won the first state playoff game in the program’s 60-year history.
For his career, Koester has 139 victories, 16 winning seasons, 13 playoff appearances and five district or region championships.
As South Paulding, he will be taking over a team that has its best players coming back for the 2013 season.
“We heard a rumor that he might be getting that job, and I’m not very happy about it,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner joked when asked about having to coach against Koester. “He does a really good job. I’m happy for him as a person, and I’m hoping things work out for him.”
Varner’s Buccaneers will travel to Douglasville to face Koester’s Spartans on Sept. 27.
The Allatoona coach knows the talent South Paulding has. The Spartans’ four losses last season came to the four teams that made the playoffs from Region 5AAAAA, and three of the outcomes could have gone the other way. South Paulding lost to Allatoona by 14 points, to East Paulding by four and to North Paulding by one in overtime.