Burke County High hires new head football coach

Dr. Franklin D. Stephens Jr.
Dr. Franklin D. Stephens Jr.(Contributed)
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 2:27 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Burke County Board of Education has officially hired Dr. Franklin D. Stephens Jr. as the Bears’ new head football coach.

He follows in the footsteps of Eric Parker, who retired as head coach a couple of weeks ago.

The Keysville native graduated in 1991 from Burke County Comprehensive High School, where he played football and acquired many awards including the Hatcher Award. He then attended Georgia Southern University, where he was a two-time All-American offensive lineman and a member of the 1993 Southern Conference Champions. After college, Stephens shared the field with several professional football teams, including the New York City Hawks, Connecticut Coyotes, and the St. Louis Rams, and played two seasons in the Arena Football League.

In 1996, he began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Burke County High School, during which time he helped coach one state finalist football team, one state champion track team, and a state runner-up track team. He also served as defensive coordinator for two seasons.

Over the past 16 years, Stephens has served as head coach in DeKalb, Lamar, Ware, and Cobb counties.

In 2014, Stephens achieved 100 wins faster than any other coach in Georgia history. Having won nine regional championships and two state championships, he’s expected to bring a wealth of success to the Bears’ football program. He plans to utilize his experience in coaching and teaching to help facilitate the total development of student-athletes: spiritually, academically, socially and athletically.

While coaching, he was able to obtain his master’s degree in foundations of education from Troy State University in 2002, his education specialist degree in education leadership from Argosy University in 2006, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Argosy in 2007.

Stephens believes faith, education, and work ethic are key factors in being successful.

He is married to the former L. Renee Simmons of Jacksonville, Fla. She is proud to have served her country as a United States Marine. She completed her doctorate degree in educational leadership from Argosy University in 2008 and is currently an assistant principal at South Cobb High School.

Coach Stephens and his wife are the parents of two children, Donovan and Trinity. Coach Stephens is the son of Mrs. and Mr. Franklin Stephens Sr. of Keysville.

He’ll be the ninth head coach in the history of Burke County High School.