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Rockdale hires new football coach
Venson Elder to lead Bulldogs
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Rockdale has its third football coach in eight months after hiring Venson Elder as its new head coach Thursday.

Elder comes to the Bulldogs from Peachtree Ridge, where he served as head track coach and an assistant on the football staff.

The Towers High and University of Alabama graduate has been coaching football for 23 years but this will be his first head coaching job. He has only ever applied for one other head job, at Peachtree Ridge last year, and felt the time was right to take the next step.

"I've been waiting for the right moment, and the right situation and the position really found me," Elder said. "One of my friends was looking for an assistant coaching job, and I was looking on line for him and ran across the Rockdale County Job. It caught my eye and I decided to go for it."

Although Elder wasn't sitting waiting for the Rockdale job to open, and happened upon it by chance, Rockdale's new special education teacher, was excited for the opportunity.

"We're excited to be here at Rockdale High," Elder said. "It's a program with a lot of rich talent that needs to be back on top again. We're hoping we get to do that for the people of the community."

Elder was hired Thursday after a selection process that began in early May. He was brought back for an interview after named one of 10 finalists from the application process, and was then named one of the top three candidates.

"The No. 1 thing was experience and his character in training young athletes," Rockdale Principal Georgi Nour said "He has played at the collegiate level so he understands the process with students moving on to the next level, whether it's Division I or Division II. He brings a lot of experience with that."

Nour had to begin the search for Elder after Mario Allen was dismissed in late April due to several alleged ethical violations, including illegal practices and recruiting.

Allen was brought on to replace Michael Etheridge, who was not brought back as football coach after the 2011 season ended in November.

None of the three were finalists, including Elder, were finalists during Rockdale's previous coaching search, which led to the hiring of Allen.

"Me and my staff (Elder is bringing along offensive coordinator Michael Turett), we're excited to be here at Rockdale County," Elder said. "We look forward to a good season, and bringing a lot of people back out and showing them some good football."