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Posted: July 20, 2011 7:54 p.m.

Hurst makes good first hire

Rick Hurst has made an impact on Eastside’s football program since arriving in 2005. He’s turned the Eagles into perennial players in the state playoffs and among the elite teams in Class AAA. After being named athletic director last month, it appears he’s ready to make an impact on the entire sports program.

Hurst’s first hire as AD is Brad Weir, the former head baseball coach at Wayne County. For those of you who may not know, Wayne County has been one of the best teams in Class AAAA the past few years. Ask Alcovy coach Casey Bates. The Tigers lost to Wayne County three years ago in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.

This is a great hire. Hurst could have gone several different ways with it including keeping inhouse candidates, but instead of laying down a sacrifice bunt, he hit one out of the park. That's not to say Eastside didn't have some qualified candidates already roaming the halls But based strictly on history, Weir brings winning.

Let’s not forget, it’s not like Eastside has been terrible recently. Weir won’t have to reinvent the wheel. He instead can add to an already solid foundation.

Weir will have to rebuild a little bit though as Eastside graduated several key players that had been in the baseball program four years. Looking at his track record though, it certainly appears he’s up to the challenge.

In his first year at McIntosh Academy, Weir guided the team to a school record for wins. McIntosh Academy improved its win total in each the next two years culminating with a No. 3 ranking in the state.

Weir worked the same type of magic at Wayne County in his three years there. When he took over as Yellow Jackets head coach, they were coming off a losing season. He turned things around right away and had guided them to 12 postseason wins in three years.

I’ve heard skeptics around the county question whether naming football coaches as AD at both Alcovy and Eastside is in the best interest of the athletic programs. Knowing both Hurst and Alcovy’s AD/football coach Kirk Hoffman, I wasn’t one of them. In Hoffman’s case, he was already doing a lot for Alcovy’s athletics and he has always helped my wife when she needs something for the volleyball program. I was just as confident with Hurst’s intentions even though he hadn't had the experience. This move only further bolsters that confidence.

Will Weir bring a state championship to Eastside and Newton County? Look, without talent, I don’t care if Ron Clark takes up coaching. You can’t win. But Eastside will have some talent. Only time can answer such a question. What Weir will bring is a winning attitude and enthusiasm.

Spend a few minutes talking to him when you get a chance, I think you’ll agree.

So for now, Hurst can smile at a job well done. Now he can focus on coaching the Eagles to a state championship, which they should win this year. OK, that might be a little bit over the top. But so was this hire.

Maybe Hurst has the magic touch this year.

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