Chad Longe and Nick Brenner have helped elevate North Gwinnett athletic programs the last few years. Now the duo will try to bring their success to first-year Lanier High School.
Longe has been hired as the program's baseball and softball coach, while Brenner will head the wrestling team.
"I'm very excited to start from the ground up," Longe said. "You get to come in somewhere new and put your mark on something."
Longe comes to Lanier, which will open in August, after three years at North Gwinnett. He helped the Bulldogs to the state playoffs the last three seasons and a Region 7-AAAAA championship in 2007.
"In the last few years we've taken a school that had some success and taken it to the next level and be a state and region contender every year and compete with the best teams in the state," Longe said.
Longe, 33, played at the college level, leading Virginia Wesleyan to back-to-back conference championships in 1997-98. His only prior head coaching experience was at Rockbridge County (Va.), where he posted a 7-11-1 record. Longe has college experience, coaching at Virginia Military Institute and at Loyola University in New Orleans.
Brenner, 28, has spent the last three seasons at North, handling freshman, junior varsity and varsity coaching duties. This will be his first head coaching job.
"I'm really excited about it," Brenner said. "It will be a challenge, but it will be exciting. There will be a whole new atmosphere and a tradition you get to set."
Brenner was an accomplished wrestler in high school, placing third at the state meet. He was a four-year starter at Kent State and helped the team to a MAC championship. During his time in college and as an assistant at North, he coached under some successful coaches, which he hopes will benefit him now as a head coach.
"One of the biggest benefactors is I've been around so many good coaches," Brenner said.
"In college, I was under two regimes. I had two great head coaches at North in Steve Hassenger and Phil Daniel, so you take bits and pieces and come up with your own theory on coaching."
Athletic director and head football coach Billy Wells still has several more hires to make, but some other coaching spots have been filled. Korey Mobbs will coach the tennis teams and David Willingham will coach the golf teams. Both will serve as assistant football coaches as well. Tony Watkins will lead the boys basketball team, Nichole O'Connel will coach the cheerleading program and Oji Perkins will lead the track and field teams.