Valdosta Daily Times

February 14, 2013

Pilcher headed to Berrien

Longtime football coach has won 241 games, five state championships

Becky Taylor
The Tifton Gazette

NASHVILLE — Ed Pilcher, who has won a string of titles in his long history as the head coach of three high school football programs, was hired Tuesday night as the new head coach of the Berrien Rebels, according to Berrien principal Angie Lovein.

Pilcher replaces Rob Armstrong, who resigned after a single season last month to take an assistant position with Clark Atlanta University.

Pilcher, who resigned from Bainbridge in late January after five seasons at the helm, has also been the head coach at Early County and Thomas County Central. He won five state championships at Central.

At Bainbridge, he went to the state playoffs in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Last year, the Bearcats went 7-4 and lost at Union Grove in the first round of the playoffs, breaking a string of four straight wins.

Pilcher has a career record of 241-94-1 in 28 seasons as a head coach.

Thomas County Central made the postseason every season that Pilcher was there, a span covering 1991-2007. The Yellow Jackets were dominant in the mid-1990s, winning Class AAA state championships in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997. They were also state runners-up in Class AAAA in 2002 and made the semifinals in 2003 and 2007.

Before going to Thomas County Central, Pilcher was the head coach at Early County. After a rough start in 1986, the Bobcats went 5-5, then made three straight postseason appearances, including trips to the semifinals in 1988 and 1990.

Berrien will be a contrast. The Rebels last had a winning record in 1995 (5-4-1). They have made it to the postseason just six times in nearly 60 years, including a single appearance in the state tournament in 1991, when they defeated Seminole County in the first round before falling to Mary Persons in the quarterfinals. Their last playoff appearance came in 1993. Since that final appearance, they have gone through 10 head coaches, including three in the past three seasons.

Armstrong’s team went 3-7 in 2012, after two straight 1-9 campaigns. The Rebels won two of their first three games, and broke their string of 16 consecutive region losses.

Berrien plays in one of the most competitive regions in Class AA. Brooks County, Cook, Fitzgerald, Thomasville and Early County have all made at least one appearance in the state quarterfinals since 2006.

Pilcher is not totally unfamiliar with the Rebels. He served as an assistant coach under Berrien head coach Bill McCall from 1983-85, a span where Berrien went 16-13-1, including two consecutive winning seasons. He left Berrien to take the head coaching job at Early in 1986.