The news came as a shock to South Cobb athletic director Isaac Kelly, who expects to have a new coach in place before the start of spring football practice in late April.
“I can’t speak as to why (Youngblood) decided to resign,” Kelly said. “That’s something you’ll have to ask him. Of course, when he turned in his resignation, you really don’t question his reason why.
“I do not recall the exact date when he resigned. He turned it into the principal, and when I got the news, I think we both were a little shocked — for (principal Ashley Hosey) when he received it and for me when I heard the news.”
Youngblood was hired to replace former South Cobb coach Ed Koester last March, coming to Austell after three years as the defensive coordinator at Burke County High School in Waynesboro.
Youngblood helped his alma mater to the Class AAA state championship in 2011. He was also on the staff at Tucker when it won the Class AAAA title in 2008.
South Cobb was Youngblood’s second head-coaching job, and it lasted just as long as his first. He led Dunwoody to a 7-5 record in 2009, but he was fired following the season, with published reports crediting the move to a disagreement with school administrators.
Youngblood didn’t have as much success in his lone season at South Cobb, guiding the Eagles to a 3-7 mark.
South Cobb lost its first two games, only to begin Region 4AAAAAA play with victories over Kennesaw Mountain and Campbell. The Eagles fell into trouble, however, against many of the other region teams, resulting in a five-game losing streak before a season-ending victory over rival Pebblebrook.
“I think that it was tough coming in after coach Koester had three straight winning seasons,” Isaac said in evaluating Youngblood’s season. “But, at the same time, he came in and had a new offense and a new defense.
“I think that we felt solid moving forward going into next year. This year, we had a strong group of players and, of course, things didn’t work out. Whenever you have a season that’s 3-7, it’s not a successful season, but you have different things to pick up on for those areas of improvement.”
Kelly said the position has been open for about a week, and it will stay open for about a month.
At that time, the administration will screen the applicants and a panel of South Cobb officials will bring select candidates in for interviews.
“We’ll do those interviews and probably bring two to three back for second interviews,” Kelly said. “Hopefully, by that time, we’ll have solid backing for selecting South Cobb’s next coach.”
Kelly said the school has received anywhere from 25 to 30 resumes, and he’s confident the administration will have a solid pool of candidates to look over.
With South Cobb moving into a new region alignment over the next two years, Kelly viewed this as an opportunity at a new beginning for the Eagles’ program. South Cobb will be in a new Region 3AAAAAA, with county rivals Campbell and Pebblebrook, along with five other programs from south and west of Atlanta.
“We felt very good going into next year,” Kelly said, “and moving to a new region and getting a fresh start on things will be positive for us.”