Jan. 19—Franklin Stephens is heading home.
After four seasons at the helm at McEachern's football team, he is leaving to take the reins of his alma mater, Burke County High School in Waynesboro. The hiring was announced Wednesday.
"Having won nine region championships and two state championships, it is foreseen that Stephens' leadership will bring a wealth of success to the Bears' football program," Burke County Public Schools said in a statement on Twitter. "He plans to utilize his experience in coaching and teaching to help facilitate the total development of student-athletes: spiritually, academically, socially and athletically."
Stephens came to McEachern in 2019 and led the Indians to a 12-1 record, the Region 3AAAAAAA title and advanced to the state quarterfinals. While McEachern did win another region title in 2021, over the next three seasons, it did not approach the success of Stephens' first season.
Stephens, who did not return messages seeking comment Thursday, finished his four seasons with a 27-18 mark. His departure marks six vacancies in Cobb County, along with Allatoona, Campbell, Pope, Walker and Whitefield Academy.
Stephens, who becomes the ninth coach in Burke County's history, takes over for Eric Parker, who retired due to health reasons after 16 years. On Oct. 31, he collapsed on the field after suffering a heart attack during a game at Wayne County
During the 2022 season, Burke County went 9-3 and made it to the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
Stephens graduated from Burke County, about 30 miles south of Augusta, in 1991 and went on to play college football at Georgia Southern. His first coaching job was as an assistant at Burke County in 1996.
In 2007, Stephens began his head-coaching career and went on to spend time at Tucker, Lamar County and Ware County before coming to McEachern. He won two state titles with Tucker and became the fastest coach in state history to win 100 games. His overall record as a head coach is 160-44, including nine region titles.