Photo by Christine Troyke
DULUTH -- Corey Jarvis was introduced Tuesday as Duluth's head football coach, a position he described as a challenge.
A once proud program in the 1970s and '80s, the Wildcats have not had a winning season since 1995. As a successful coach at M.L. King the last five years, Jarvis plans to bring a winning tradition back to Duluth.
"It was presented to me that it was a challenge and it was also a challenge that could be fixed," Jarvis said. "I feel like it's a great community, the school has a rich tradition and history. Of course, they haven't done real well in the last few years, but I think if the kids understand the tradition and history of this program, they buy into what we're doing, then we can be very successful."
Jarvis made M.L. King in DeKalb County one of the best teams in Class AAAAA. He compiled a 49-11 record over five seasons, qualifying for the playoffs each year. M.L. King was 10-2 last season, losing in the second round of the state playoffs and reached the quarterfinals in 2007. During his time at M.L. King, Jarvis coached more than 50 players who went on to play college football.
"He's an excellent football coach. But the most important stat is the fact that he's sent more than 50 kids to college on football scholarships," Duluth athletic director Bill Navas said. "Our program hasn't been successful and we bring in a coach with a great name that's going to promote our kids to play at the next level."
Jarvis will be the Wildcats' third coach in four seasons, taking over a program that hasn't reached the playoffs since 1994. Duluth has won two games over the last three years, which includes a winless season in 2008. Jarvis replaces Gary McDonald, who was 1-19 in his two seasons as head coach.
"You try to change the climate of the kids. From my understanding, it was a little laid back. I'm not laid back, it might not sound like it right now, but I'm not laid back," Jarvis said. "Things have been kind of pushed to the side and we're going to get it done this way and it hasn't worked. Obviously, something has not been done right, so we're going to get it right."
On top of the struggles Duluth has faced, the Wildcats play in one of the toughest regions in Class AAAAA. Region 7-AAAAA has put a team in the state finals three of the last four seasons.
"When you look at Norcross, North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge, Collins Hill and what they are doing, it's a tough road, but I think we can do it," Jarvis said.
Jarvis has already left M.L. King and is a Gwinnett County employee, so he will be with the Wildcats during winter workouts and spring practice.
"I'm a little impatient. I'm patient with kids, but not with winning," Jarvis said. "I think we can do some things this year. The kids are working hard. You go in the weight room and see what they are doing, they are working real hard. If they keep buying into what we're doing and pick up the system, we'll be fine."