Jason Carrera, who took the struggling Meadowcreek football program to unprecedented prominence, has resigned as head football coach to become the athletic director at Central Gwinnett.
Former Newton head coach Terrance Banks, an assistant at Meadowcreek, will take over as interim head coach of a team that is 2-4 overall and 1-1 in Region 7-AAAAAAA with a key region victory over Duluth on its resumé. Carrera said he obviously had reservations about leaving his team during the season, but he couldn’t pass up the leadership opportunity at Central.
“Leaving this team in 2021 in the middle of the season is tough, but not all decisions work out as we desire,” Carrera said. “This team will be left in great hands and they will do great things to add to the legacy already left by teams before them. I love them and want them to break and set new records.”
Carrera was hired in 2015 and inherited a Meadowcreek program that had been among Georgia’s worst for decades. He brought stability over the past seven seasons and he won 25 games with the Mustangs, a considerable feat for a team that won 24 total games from 1993 to 2014.
When he was hired, Meadowcreek was on a 13-season run of going either 1-9 or 0-10. His seven-year tenure is the longest in the history of the school, which opened in 1986 and went through nine head football coaches from 1998-2014.
Carrera took Meadowcreek to the playoffs in 2017 and 2020, the second and third postseason appearances in school history after the first playoff trip way back in 1988. With the help of community members — he pointed out Reagan Cortez, the Uncle Pigskin Foundation, the Atlanta Falcons, 12Stone Church, the Maxwell Academy and school alumni — he was able to provide a top-notch experience for the Mustangs on and off the field.
“The past seven years have been an amazing ride,” Carrera said. “When God put in on my heart to become a coach, I had no idea what he was preparing me for and he gets all the glory for all of the ups and downs, wins and losses, and the changes that were made. Meadowcreek football has been a blessing to my family and me over the past seven years. To have the opportunity to build a program that was thought of as one of the worst in the state of Georgia was a hefty challenge, but with the incredible help from men like (administrators) Dr. (Tommy) Welch, Dr. (Kevin) Wood, Dr. (Stefan) Harris, and Dr. (Lashawn) Smith we have been able to accomplish what no one thought we could.
“The coaches that have coached here with me have been the backbone of the turnaround. It would be hard for me to point out a few of them without saying each and every one of them made their mark on this program and these kids. … All of the men that deserve all of the credit for what this program became, and is today. Setting records at Meadowcreek will be one of the greatest memories I will ever have. However, as I told my team last week, the best memory will be them, what they become and what they accomplish when they leave Meadowcreek.”
Central principal Shane Orr reached out to Carrera about the athletic director position, and he was able to accept the job after being accepted into the Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Aspiring Leadership Program. That acceptance allowed him to be an assistant principal.
The Black Knights were in search of a full-time AD as a replacement for Eddie Hood, who resigned after the 2020-21 school year.
“Obviously, there’s great tradition (at Central), being the eldest school in Gwinnett County,” Carrera said. “The explosion of the square and the growth in downtown is exciting. There’s an opportunity to get a lot of support for the program. They have a lot of alumni out there. I think the people of Lawrenceville, the town of Lawrenceville, want to see the school do well. They’ve always had good coaches, good players. Mr. Orr is an exceptional administrator and principal. It really seemed like a great opportunity.”
That said, it was still bittersweet for Carrera to leave Meadowcreek.
“You always talk about leave it better than when you got there and I think we’ve done that,” Carrera said. “I think we made Meadowcreek a relevant piece of Gwinnett football and a relevant piece of 7A football. It definitely looks like a different job than when I got there with the help of a lot of good folks, good players, good administrators. We built it into something and gave a lot of kids the opportunity to have a great high school football career and some got to move on to college.”