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Photo/Angela Reinhardt PHS’s new head football coach Craig Bennett, center, with wife Shay and daughters McCall and Rilee. (Back row l-r) Pickens BOE member Steve Lowe, Pickens Superintendent Dr. Travis Thomas, and BOE members Amy Gibson, Tommy Gartrell, Joe Wigington, and Sue Finley.

Craig Bennett hired as new head PHS coach

            It was a full house at a called meeting on January 4 where the school board hired a new head football coach for Pickens High School.

            The board voted unanimously to hire Craig Bennett, who has worked the last 12 years as head football coach at Cambridge High School in Fulton County.

             Pickens Superintendent Travis Thomas read Bennett’s credentials and said, “On behalf of the board of education, I’d like to welcome you to Pickens County.”

             Bennett thanked Thomas, the board and members of the staff for the opportunity to work in capacity as head coach..

            “I’m very humbled and honored to even be considered for this position,” he said. “This has been a dream of mine for years and I can’t wait to get started. I’m so excited…let’s get to work.”

            Pickens BOE Chair Tommy Gartrell welcomed Bennett and his family, and commented on Bennett’s credentials and experience.

            “Players, parents, we got you the best one we could find,” Gartrell said.

            The Pickens BOE issued the following statement:

Coach Bennett has served the last 12 years as the head football coach at Cambridge High School in north Fulton County. He has been one of the longest tenured head football coaches in metro Atlanta, serving in this leadership role since Cambridge opened as a school in the fall of 2012.

            As the Head Football Coach at Cambridge, Coach Bennett has led his team to the state playoffs in each of the past four years and advanced to the second round of the playoffs in 2020, 2021, and 2022. His 2021 team finished #7 in the final state AAAAAA rankings. In 2022 Coach Bennett’s team won the Region 6AAAAA championship, and again finished #7 in the final state rankings. Coach Bennett serves on the board of the Georgia Football Coaches Association and has been named Coach of the Week by the Atlanta Touchdown Club and Region Coach of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association.

            Coach Bennett also served as Associate Athletic Director at Cambridge. Prior to his time at Cambridge, Coach Bennett taught Social Studies and coached at Pope High School, Darlington, and Milton High School. In addition to coaching football, he has also served as assistant coach in girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, track, and golf. While at Milton, Coach Bennett also served as the head coach of girls’ basketball and Athletic Director.

            Coach Bennett is married to Shay, a special education pre-K teacher. Craig and Shay have two daughters. Rilee recently graduated from Coastal Carolina. McCall is currently a kicker on the Valdosta State football team. Coach Bennett is excited to join the Dragon Nation.

            “I look forward to getting to work on building the football program on hard work, character, and discipline. We are going to put a team on the field that will make Pickens County proud. My family looks forward to being a part of the community and joining Dragon Nation.”

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