Shiloh’s newest head coaches have a few things in common, including the fact that both were already on the faculty at the Snellville high school when they were hired for their new positions.
However, there is at least one fairly stark contrast in their respective situations.
Nigel Carter’s appointment as the girls basketball coach will be a return of sorts, while for Sarah Richards, her new position as the school’s new varsity girls soccer coach will be a new beginning.
For Carter, who served as a running backs coach for the Generals football team and head coach of the varsity girls track team this past school year, the return to coaching basketball means more to him than just filling the void left by the departure of previous coach Regina Tate-Leslie.
“It’s a blessing,” Carter said. “I’ve been out of coaching basketball the last two and a half years, and it’s something I really wanted to do. When I came (to Shiloh) last year, I asked (athletics director) Mike Cammack about it, but at that points, both the staffs for the boys and girls teams were filled. This situation kind of fell in my lap, and I’m really pleased to have the opportunity.”
A three-sport athlete when he attended Crawford County High School in south Georgia in the mid-1990s, the 36-year-old Carter went on to run track at Ohio State University, though basketball remained very strong in his heart.
It is that passion that he says will drive him as he attempts to build on a solid foundation left by Tate-Leslie, who guided the Generals to 22 wins and the program’s first state tournament berth in seven years over two seasons before accepting the head coach at Mt. Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek last month.
And with the program building back up in numbers and depth, Carter believes the pieces are in place for the Generals to continue their upward progression.
“The biggest thing will be getting more girls to participate,” Carter said. “We’re sharing a lot of athletes with our softball, volleyball and track programs, but … we only graduated two seniors last year, and both of them were able to sign college scholarships. With the experience we’ve got coming back and a new region to compete in, I think it should be enough to help us make a run for (the) state (tournament).”
The goals for Richards for Shiloh’s varsity girls soccer coach are very similar to the ones Carter has for the girls basketball program.
The main difference is that this will mark the 29-year-old Snellville native’s first opportunity as a varsity head coach.
“I’ve always wanted to teach and I’ve always wanted to coach,” Richards said. “It’s really crazy that (the chance) has come so soon, but I’m really excited about it.”
Though this is Richards’ first head coaching job, she does bring a literal world of experiences into it.
A 2005 graduate of nearby South Gwinnett, she holds four different degrees, including two from Emory University in Atlanta and two others studying abroad in Austria and Scotland.
She also has some experience with the Shiloh program, having served as the head coach of the Generals junior varsity program, as well as an assistant to former varsity coach Stephanie Willocks this past spring.
“It’s continuity for me and continuity for (the players), as well,” Richard said. “I learned a lot from Coach Willocks, and we ran our practices together. So that will be good.
“We didn’t have a JV program for a few years, and I think that prevented us from developing players. I think now that we have one, we’ll be able to develop players from an early age. We did lose a few good seniors, but we have a strong junior class returning. So we’re expecting them to be good leaders. And we also had some strong freshman and sophomores who played varsity (this season), so that should help, too.”
THE CARTER FILE
Name: Nigel Carter
New position: Girls basketball coach at Shiloh
Former position: Assistant football and head girls track coach at Shiloh
Career record: 18-28
Education: Graduated from Crawford County High School in 1997; graduated from Ohio State University in 2002; earned Master’s in Education from the University of Phoenix in ‘09
Background: Played basketball and football and ran track in high school and ran track at Ohio State; high school coaching experience has included stints as head boys basketball coach at Martha Puckett Middle School in Jesup and Crawford County Middle School in Roberta, head boys and girls basketball coach at St. Joseph Montessori School in Columbus, Ohio, head junior varsity girls basketball coach at Jonesboro High School and head varsity girls basketball coach at Lanier County High School in Lakeland before coming to Shiloh last year
THE RICHARDS FILE
Name: Sarah Richards
New position: Girls soccer coach at Shiloh
Former position: Junior varsity girls soccer coach at Shiloh
Education: Graduated from South Gwinnett High School in 2005; studied in the affiliate program at Univeritat Wien in Vienna, Austria, in ‘08; graduated from the Emory University in ‘09; earned postgraduate diploma in Cultural Identity Studies from the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland in ‘13; earned Master’s in Arts, Film and Media Studies from Emory University in ‘14
Background: Played soccer at South Gwinnett and collegiately at Emory; Took over at Shiloh’s JV coach and served as a varsity assistant this past season