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Parker leaves head coach position, Nelson named new top coach

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Jeff Nelson with wife Leigh and daughters Ashley and Amanda. Not Pictured daughter Anna.

       The Pickens Dragons football program will have a new but familiar face leading the way in 2019. Defensive coordinator Jeff Nelson was approved last week by the Board of Education after previous head coach Chris Parker announced that he would be taking a position at the county office in which he continues as the county’s athletic director and assumes additional responsibilities. 

In a statement released on social media Parker said, “I just feel like it’s time to put Ellie, Kate and Kimberley first and be there for them more. This new job will allow me to be able to help all of our athletic programs and do more for all students of Pickens County.” 

Parker was 49-29 in his time at Pickens, culminating in last season’s 10-0 regular season, region championship, and playoff victory.

Coach Nelson has been a big part of the success over his last five seasons here with the Dragons. He is a long time resident of Pickens County, and grew up in Birmingham before moving to Cherokee High School. He and his wife Leigh have lived here with their three daughters, Anna, Ashley and Amanda.  Ashley is a former Nettes basketball standout, and Amanda is currently contributing to the success of this year’s Nettes squad as only a freshman. 

Coach Nelson is a veteran of our Armed Services and has already had a distinguished coaching career as both an assistant and a coordinator. He began his coaching career at Sequoyah High School, where he helped the Chiefs to four straight playoff appearances. In 2004 the Chiefs finished 11-2 and ranked 5th in the state. Coach Nelson then spent the next eight seasons as the defensive coordinator at the newly built Creekview High School.  His teams were known for their attacking defenses, much like Dragons fans saw this season. After a one-year stint back at Sequoyah, Coach Nelson accepted the coaching position at Pickens he has held for the last five seasons.

When asked about his new position Nelson said, “I’m looking forward to stepping into the head coaching roll and just continuing the high standards set by Coach Parker.” 

Nelson has inherited a team that has made five consecutive playoff appearances, and just finished their most successful season in school history. The Dragons will have most of their defensive and offensive lines returning for 2019, as well as Quarterback CJ Streicher. When asked about replacing such a successful graduating class Nelson said, “We had a great group of seniors last year, but we’ve also got some talented young players coming back. It will be their turn to step into the leadership role. I’m really excited about getting to work with this group.”  

The first look at this new group of Dragons will come this spring as the team enters two weeks of spring football culminating with a scrimmage game at home against Dawsonville.