The academic school year at Southeast Whitfield is over, but the shakeup within the athletic department has continued.
Scott Ramsey, who has been the school’s athletic director for the past eight years while teaching social sciences, has left the school to become an assistant principal and athletic director at Fannin County High. Current assistant principal and 1985 Southeast graduate Mark Lentych will step into the athletic director’s role.
The moves mark the end of a school year which has seen plenty of turnover in administration and coaching at Southeast.
In November, Southeast Principal Brian Satterfield retired from the school and former Northwest Whitfield assistant principal Karey Williams took over the school’s top administrative post in January. In March, the husband-wife head coaching duo of David Crane (football) and Elizabeth Crane (girls basketball) were offered chances to resign or face dismissal from their coaching duties at the school. David Crane has since taken a job as an assistant coach at Northwest Whitfield.
Later, Southeast grad and former Ringgold head coach Sean Gray was confirmed by the Whitfield County School Board on Williams’ recommendation, while Mike Durham, a longtime former Whitfield County Schools employee, returned to the system to take over the girls basketball program. Chad Murray, who was an assistant football coach and the school’s golf coach for both boys and girls, is leaving to take an assistant football position at North Murray. Chad Brewer, who was also a football assistant and the school’s track and field coach for both boys and girls, has taken the same jobs at Northwest.
Before Williams took over as the school’s principal, Kelley Barton — another Southeast alum, having graduated in 2005 — was named the school’s softball coach after Jeff McDonald stepped down from the position.
“I think that we have a good team of people who are working well together, and I feel very good about the direction that we are heading in,” Williams said in confirming the moves on Friday. “I think that we want to stress excellence in performance, and excellence on the field and off the field both. I feel like we have a good group of coaches with great character who are working hard to help the kids.
“And anytime you are working hard to help kids, you are moving off in the right direction.”
Lentych played tight end for the Raiders during his senior year in 1984 under coach Tom “T” McFerrin, who went 7-3 in his lone season at Southeast.
Lentych said his coaches were the reason he decided to pursue a career in education later in life. As a child who never knew his father, his coaches filled that role.
“It is an honor to be at your alma mater and walk those same halls and think about the things that inspired you and helped shape and mold you,” said Lentych, who recently completed his second year as an assistant principal at the school. “You run into kids every day who need a role model, and my coaches had that kind of impact on me. That is what led me into education. I do all of the disciplining at Southeast, and this really gives me an opportunity to do more to help the students.”
Williams said when Ramsey announced his plans for next year, Lentych came to mind immediately.
“In this case, I thought Mark would do a great job,” Williams said. “He has a strong athletic background and was already a great supporter of the athletic program. It was a real natural fit, and I know that he will do a great job for us.”
After graduating from Southeast, Lentych served for three years in the U.S. Army before getting his social science education degree from Kennesaw State University in 1994. He taught at Dalton Middle and Northwest and coached at those two schools in addition to at Westside Middle. He has primarily coached football and track and field.
“I just want everyone to be really positive and focus on the future and work hard,” Lentych said of his expectations for his coaches. “I want to make sure that we do for the kids the same things that the coaches did for me when I was here.
“Athletics isn’t just wins and losses. It is facing challenges and working hard, and remembering those lessons. Everything that you do impacts a young person, and you want it to be a positive impact.”
Lentych completed his administration masters degree through the University of Alabama.
Ramsey also received his doctorate from Alabama, and he said his more than a decade spent at Southeast was time he enjoyed and filled him with pride.
“There have been a lot of great things and a lot of successes there,” Ramsey said. “I think that the athletic program is in pretty good shape. I am proud of my time there and it was just a lot of fun and I had the pleasure of working with a lot of good people.”
Also a social studies teacher who taught government classes this past year in addition to his athletic director duties, Ramsey said he was ready to move fully into administration.
“I am excited to get more into administration and Fannin County was a great opportunity with great facilities and a strong athletic program,” Ramsey said. “It was time to move forward.”