Coach Alexander and a New Era of Football
When Josh Alexander was hired as head football coach on January 26, 2015, the Athens Academy community was excited to start a new era. Alexander joined the Spartans from 7-A powerhouse Archer in Lawrenceville. Alexander served as the offensive coordinator and QB coach. With the offensive background, it is no surprise that the Alexander era began with a 49-0 win. The Spartans started the first season under Alexander 9-0 and finished 9-2. In the two and half seasons Coach Alexander has been with the Spartans, he’s led the Athens private school to a 26-5 record. It seems that the attitude surrounding the team has changed, and it is evident in the team's performance on the field. In eight games this year, the Spartans have outscored opponents 363-57, and are winning games by an average of 38.25 points.
The intensity that started the first day he stepped on campus has continued this season. Coach Alexander is known for sideline presence, that is crazy to say the least. Alexander can be seen running up and down the sidelines, screaming in the middle of the huddle, or having a conversation with a ref who is 40 yards away. Jalen Huff and Franklin Burns observed that coach Alexander’s approach remains the same throughout the game. “We could be up by 40, but if George misses a block, then you can beat he’s going to hear about it when he gets to the sideline.” The accountability is something the players have come to love. “He holds us accountable for all of our actions, which is something I really like,” said Franklin Burns. This love for coach Alexander is something that is not just felt by the players and coaching staff but is felt throughout the school in all parts of the community.
Athens Academy headmaster John Thorsen and athletic director Kevin Petroski made it evident during the hiring process that they were looking for a coach who would not only win games, but be a positive overall addition to the Spartan community. After hiring Alexander, Thorsen remarked, “The energy level on campus is very high. People are excited for what lies ahead.” That energy level has shown itself on-and-off the field in all of the players and the coaches. Junior RB Logan Payne, who transferred to Athens Academy for the spring semester his sophomore year, was very excited to get to know Coach Alexander and play for him. Payne, who transferred from another Athens-Area high school, spoke of the different football environment that was evident from the day he enrolled, “Coach Alexander cares about the player and the person, he does a great job with keeping us focused and ready to play each Friday.” Players are not the only members of the community that feel that Alexander has brought positive change, “Coach Alexander is an awesome member of our community. He loves the students, works hard, engages with our community and is a good role model for all. I am a big fan” said headmaster John Thorsen in a recent interview.
Coach Alexander will lead “Team 40” into a pivotal Region 8A game this Friday night against the Commerce Tigers at Ray Lamb Stadium. Alexander is tied up in his matchups against region foe Commerce, the last meeting coming at Slaughter field with the Tigers edging the Spartans 42-30.