COVINGTON, Ga. — Normally, the only football coaching hires that draw much attention are head coaches and coordinators. However, just like with everything else, there are exceptions.
Troy Hoff — former Eastside head coach from 2015-2020 — has returned to the Eagles as the offensive line coach. According to Hoff, the transition has been seamless.
“There’s a lot of familiarity with Eastside,” Hoff said. “I’ve spent the majority of my career here and haven’t been gone that long. A lot of the players when I left were younger. Then, obviously, there’s still a ton of tie-ins with staff. It’s been a great start to spring ball and I’m enjoying it.”
Eastside experienced arguably some of the program’s best success under Hoff’s tutelage.
In his six seasons as head coach, Hoff compiled a 51-17-1 overall record including a 34-7 mark in region play. He led the Eagles to the state playoffs in five of the six seasons and had two quarter-final appearances as well.
Particularly, the 2018 season was monumental for several reasons. Eastside’s 10-0 regular season was the first undefeated season ever recorded for a high school football team in Newton County. On top of that, the Eagles won the 2018 Region 4-AAAA championship, the first for Eastside since it won back-to-back region crowns in 2008 and 2009.
Hoff was a member of the coaching staff prior to his rise to the helm in 2005.
Now, Hoff is the third member of Eastside’s staff with head coaching experience along with head coach Jay Cawthon and special teams coordinator Chris Edgar — who is the former head coach of Alcovy from 2016-2018.
Hoff believes that knowledge can be beneficial to all parties involved.
“It allows you to look at situations differently, because you’ve been in them before as a head coach,” Hoff said. “It may be scheduling, staff situations or things that don’t pertain to just football on the field. When you have guys who have an understanding of it and have sat in that chair, you can be a better aide to your head coach and what he needs.”
With that said, Hoff was quick to dispute any inclination that there is a head coaching controversy with his return. He stressed that Cawthon is still the “captain of the ship.”
“When I left [Cawthon] became captain and he’s doing an excellent job of steering that ship,” Hoff said. “We’ve worked together for 16 years in multiple roles. It’s been pretty seamless. I know what my role is and how I can best help him and our program.”
Hoff departed from the Eagles’ program in February 2021 to become head coach of the Woodstock Wolverines 70 miles up the road from Covington. After two seasons there, Hoff is excited to return to lead the offensive line group for the Eagles.
Last season, Cawthon highlighted the youth of this specific position group. And, though many players are still inexperienced, Hoff has seen steady progression from each player early in spring practice.
“They’re still a young group,” Hoff said. “These kids are working really hard. We’re throwing a lot at them, because we only have 10 days in shoulder pads. I want them to play physical, get off the football and go to work. They’ve done a great job of embracing that.”
Eastside’s spring football sessions continue until Friday, May 19. After that, the Eagles will go through summer workouts and practice and, before too long, the 2023 football season will commence.
The Eagles will compete in a preseason scrimmage at Monroe Area on Friday, Aug. 11 then, a week later on Aug. 18, Eastside will kick off its 2023 campaign at home against Luella.
Hoff is expecting a flood of memories to come when he steps back into Homer Sharp Stadium as a member of Eastside’s football coaching staff.
“I’ve spent the greater part of my career there. It’s a special place,” Hoff said. “There’s a lot of great memories there that go back — some not that long ago. Being there with guys that I’ve spent a lot of time with in this profession — they’re not just colleagues. A lot of those guys are brothers — I’m excited about that.
“I know what Eastside football means to the community and I know how the community supports football, in general, in our area. I know the excitement will be there when we get on that field again.”