• 63°

Greenville loses defensive coordinator

Greenville defensive coordinator Tony Stonicher signed a contract on Thursday to become the new defensive coordinator and assistant head football coach at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, and resigned his Greenville post on Friday.

Stonicher will re-join Gene Allen, whom he coached with for 15 years at Greenville. Allen was named the new head football coach in late March when former coach Chris Baxter was fired by the Montgomery County Board of Education.

"I wouldn't take any other job, but the timing was right," Stonicher said. "I've been offered head coaching jobs at smaller schools before and turned them down to stay. But now I've got a chance to coach against some of the best teams in the state."

While Stonicher and Allen coached together in Greenville, they led the Tigers to state championships in 1987 and 1994 as well as berth in the Class 5A championship in 1993.

"We think a lot a like and that might be scary," Allen said of Stonicher. "I'm looking forward to working with him again. I think it's going to be great. He's got a great defensive mind. He'll fit in great with the kids, and the kids are real eager to learn and win"

Lee's football program is rich in play for and winning state titles, but the Generals have been struggling as of late. Lee failed to win a ballgame last season after being six years removed from playing for the Class 6A championship.

"They need to win a game," Stonicher said of his new team. "They need some confidence. They were 0-10 last year and lost some close games. They just don't have a whole lot of confidence right now."

Stonicher said the building of the team's confidence has already begun in the weight room.

"They need to go back to the basics and work their way back up," he said.

Stonicher said that he believes that the Generals can bounce back to their winning ways quickly given that their junior varsity programs consistently been strong.

"We need to teach them the game to be successful," Stonicher said.

For the last few months, Stonicher has split time in Greenville and Montgomery.

Stonicher observed spring drills at Greenville, but did not work with this season's unit. Stonicher did the same in Montgomery.

Linebackers coach Matt Coghlin is expected to become Greenville's defensive coordinator, so Briggs will have to find a replacement at that position. Briggs also will have to fill the outside linebackers/tight ends coaching position left vacant by Ronnie Faulk, who announced his retirement at the beginning of the school year.

"Replacing two positions on your staff is tough, but trying to replace 50 years of coaching is even tougher," Briggs said. "I'm going to try to find good replacements for these guys, but it will be near impossible to find two people with that much coaching experience."

If Lee's defense this season looks familiar to Greenville fans, it will because it is. Stonicher said he plans to install the same defensive philosophy at Lee that what was at Greenville.

"It will be a mirror-image of Greenville's defense," Stonicher said. "If it doesn't work well, then I guess I'll be looking for another job."