Jeff Littleton, who was hired as Bainbridge's new coach Thursday, is a former Worth County football star and longtime Cairo defensive coordinator.
BAINBRIDGE — It’s funny how that circle of life runs sometimes.
Just ask Jeff Littleton, who was named the new head football coach at Bainbridge High late Thursday night.
Littleton’s road to this job started almost 30 years ago.
“I remember playing Bainbridge in my first football game in high school when I was a freshman at Worth County,’’ Littleton said. “They were kind of my initiation. I remember them because Bainbridge was tough and physical. I’ll never forget that game. That game stayed with me my whole life. That’s why I am so honored to have this opportunity.’’
Littleton said he couldn’t be happier.
“I have a lot of respect for this football program going back to my high school days,’’ Littleton said. “It’s been a great program. I’m excited and honored to be at Bainbridge.’’
Littleton was a star safety at Worth County, where he helped the Rams reach the state title game in his junior and senior seasons. The Rams were second in the state in 1986, and they won it all in 1987.
Littleton, who graduated from Valdosta State, knows Bainbridge well. He spent the last eight years as the defensive coordinator at Cairo, one of the Bearcats’ biggest rivals.
Littleton’s defense was a big reason the Syrupmakers have been a state power for years, and that’s one of many reasons he was chosen for a job that was coveted by head coaches and assistants from all over Georgia. More than 10 head coaches applied for the job that was left open when Ed Pilcher left Bainbridge to take a job at Berrien High School on Feb. 12.
“I’ve never wanted to be a head coach for the sake of being a head coach,’’ Littleton said. “I’ve always thought it needed to be the right place at the right time, and that’s what Bainbridge is for me.’’
Not only will Littleton bring strong defensive skills to his new job, but he will give the Bearcats a new look on offense.
Pilcher, a legendary coach who won 241 games and five state titles at Thomas County Central before coming to Bainbridge four years ago, loved the Veer offense, but Littleton said he plans to change that.
“We’re going to run a pro-style offense,’’ he said. “We’re going to spread people out and take advantage of our athletes and our speed.’’
Pilcher’s teams went 24-18 over his four years there, including a 15-7 record the past two seasons. Bainbridge made it to the state playoffs three of the last four years, but the Bearcats couldn’t get past the first round under Pilcher.
Littleton wasted no time after being named the coach. He spent Friday at Bainbridge getting to know his players, and he plans to move from Cairo to Bainbridge as soon as possible.
“I’m going to move here,’’ he said. “I want to be part of this community. This is a great opportunity.’’