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New athletic directors named for three Gwinnett schools

Greg Phillips

Greg Phillips

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Matt Champitto

A major reshuffling of Gwinnett County's athletic and activities directors this spring has led to the recent hirings of two newcomers to the position.

Central Gwinnett announced Thursday that it hired current Duluth head baseball coach Matt Champitto as its new AD to replace the outgoing Brian DeBerry. DeBerry will switch from Central to become the new AD at Grayson, replacing Brent Tisdale, who accepted the AD job at East Jackson.

Berkmar recently promoted its boys basketball coach, Greg Phillips, to the AD position as current athletics head Dan Knudsen is stepping into a different assistant principal role. Unlike Champitto, Phillips will continue to coach the Patriots' boys basketball team.

Another Gwinnett AD opening is at Duluth, where Bill Navas is leaving to become an assistant principal at Mill Creek.

The latest hiring is Champitto, a key figure in Gwinnett baseball for more than a decade. He planned an administrative job search at some point in the future, but didn't expect it to happen this quickly.

He told his baseball players of his decision Thursday afternoon.

"At some time, I knew I would move into an AD-, AP-type role," Champitto said. "I didn't know it was going to be now. I was just waiting on the right situation. ... It happened really fast. Going in, I didn't know a whole lot of people (at Central) and I didn't have any expectations. When I sat down with (Central principal) Maryanne Grimes and the committee of coaches and staff and talking with them about their vision for athletics, it seemed like a really good fit for me. The other thing is I think they're a lot like Duluth when we got to Duluth."

Champitto, 37, coached Duluth's baseball team the past four seasons and took his 2011 team to the Class AAAAA Sweet 16. He was previously head baseball coach at his alma mater, Shiloh, for nine seasons.

He's also very active with USA Baseball the Under Armour All-American Game, a role he hopes to continue.

"I think that's why I wanted to do an AD job instead of straight into another administrative role, to be around coaches and athletes," Champitto said. "I'm definitely going to miss baseball, though. It will be tough when you've done it for 15 years. It will be different watching from outside the fence."

That won't be the case for Phillips, who will handle the boys basketball program and AD duties at Berkmar.

The 35-year-old has taken all four of his Patriot basketball teams to the state tournament, winning two region titles and reaching the state Sweet 16 twice. He was previously an assistant at Norcross, where he won three state titles.

"I wasn't really (looking for an administrative job)," Phillips said. "I'm certified as an administrator, but I still love coaching. My No. 1 thing is still coaching basketball. But to be able to work with all the Berkmar athletes is exciting.

"I'll try to bring some of the success we've had from basketball to all of our athletic programs. It's a challenge for me and I'm excited about it."

The Champitto File

Who: Matt Champitto

New position: Athletic and activities director at Central Gwinnet

Former position: Head baseball coach at Duluth

Age: 37

Education: Graduated from Shiloh High School in 1993; graduated from West Georgia in 1999; has master's degree from Alabama and specialist degree from Piedmont; earned doctorate in educational leadership from Argosy University in 2012

Background: Coached the past four seasons at Duluth, leading the Wildcats to the Sweet 16 in 2011; coached for nine years at Shiloh, the last five as head baseball coach; played three sports at Shiloh; has served as president of the Georgia Dugout Club; heavily involved with USA Baseball's 18-and-under program

Family: Wife Kristina; daughter Taylor, 9; son Davis, 6

The Phillips File

Who: Greg Phillips

New position: Athletic and activities director, and head boys basketball coach at Berkmar

Former position: Head boys basketball coach at Berkmar

Age: 35

Education: Graduated from Lakeside High School in 1996; graduated from Oglethorpe University with a degree in social studies; earned master's degree from West Georgia in administration leadership and specialist degree from North Georgia in leadership

Background: Has coached the Patriots' boys basketball team for four seasons, making state each of those seasons; has led Berkmar to two region titles and two Elite Eight appearances in the state tourney; previously was an assistant coach at Norcross, where he won three state titles; also coached at Kennesaw Mountain for four seasons and at Alpharetta for one

Family: Single