Orangewood Christian made quite an impression on Carey Metts when he was introduced to students and parents as the Rams’ new head football coach on Thursday.
“The people here are great and the kids I’ve got to meet already are great,” said Metts. “We’re getting a coaching staff together now, and I’ll just need to adjust to how things are done here in the private schools.”
Metts, who has spent 27 years as a public-school teacher and coach in Georgia and North Carolina, was identified by athletic director David Pitts as the ideal candidate to fill the vacancy left by long-time Orlando area coach Bill Gierke in December.
Gierke led Orangewood to a 52-51 record in 10 seasons after spending 28 years coaching Orange County public schools Edgewater, Dr. Phillips and Evans.
“He’s a strong Christian man with high character,” Pitts said. “When Gierke made the announcement, I put some feelers out and talked to some people, and Coach Metts was always somebody that was on my mind. I knew he’d fit the mission of the school and be someone that could do well at Orangewood.”
The Orangewood hire leaves Orlando area coaching vacancies at Oviedo, Celebration, Cypress Creek, Freedom, Windermere High and first-year Horizon High School in Winter Garden. Oviedo wrapped up its first round of interviews last week, according to athletic director Jen Darty.
Metts, 55, said he will finish the current school year with his wife and four children in North Carolina but that he plans to travel back and forth once spring practices begin at the end of April.
“We’re very excited as a family,” said Metts. “We feel that God Is leading us down here and that there’s a great opportunity for us, and we’re just going to take it and do the best we can with it.”
Metts began his career as a head coach in Robbinsville, N.C., in 1992, then spent seven years at Madison County High School of Georgia and three years as an assistant at Dacula High School in Georgia before returning to coach again near his hometown of Asheville, N.C.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity at a private Christian school and the freedom that it gives me to do the thing things I love to do, which is to minister the kids and coach football,” Metts said. “But I think there’s going to be a learning curve for me. I’m sure when Gierke came here 10 years ago it was probably the same way, because you’ve never been in this type of environment before.”