SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Jenkins Warriors have their new head football coach, hiring Tucker assistant Gene Clemons to take over the program. SCCPSS athletic director John Sanders confirmed the hire to WTOC.
Clemons spent the 2019 season as the wide receivers coach at Tucker High School in Atlanta, but has five years experience as a head football coach. He led the program at Randolph-Macon Academy in Virginia in 2006 and led a pair of high school teams in Florida between 2009-2012. He was at Vanguard High in Ocala in 2009-2010 and Westwood Academy in Ft. Pierce from 2011-2012.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to work for a program that obviously has had some success, but also work with young men that remind me of the people I grew up with,” Clemons told WTOC Wednesday night.
Clemons will inherit the program from Jason Cameron, who left this offseason to become the head coach at Vidalia High School. In 2019, the Warriors earned their first state semifinal appearance since 1966, as well as the program’s second region title in three years. In all, the Warriors have reached at least the state quarterfinals three straight years.
But there may be challenges ahead. The Warriors just lost a senior class that had three Division I signees on defense, and will move up to Class AAAA in 2020.
“Jenkins has had a lot of wins, but there’s always room for improvement. That will be the challenge of it,” Clemons says. “The fact is that we’re losing 20-plus seniors, many of them on the defensive side. Then you add in to that we’re moving up a level, and Class AAAA is a different animal. It’s going to be interesting to see how we navigate it.”
Clemons says he’s not coming to Savannah with any set offensive or defensive system. Rather, he wants to see the personnel he’s inheriting and build around the team’s strengths.
“Expect to see a fundamentally sound group, because I think that’s at the base of everything we do,” Clemons says. “As far as what we’re going to look like offensively and defensively, it will really depend on what type of talent we have this year. And we’ll re-evaluate every year.”
Clemons says another thing that attracted him to the Jenkins job is the “Tampa” he sees in Savannah. Clemons is a Tampa native, and says he sees a lot of his hometown in the Hostess City on a smaller scale.
Particularly in the case of the athletes and programs.
“Tampa is a city that often times gets overlooked by another city that’s more glitz and glamour if you will,” Clemons says. “In terms of Georgia, Atlanta is that city. So many times, Savannah gets overlooked as one of those major players.”