Lakeside didn’t have to look far away to find its football coach.
After serving as Westside’s head coach for four seasons, Steve Hibbitts confirmed Monday night through text he will be the Panthers’ new coach. Lakeside will make an official announcement at a news conference at 3 p.m. today.
Hibbitts replaces Jarrett Troxler, who on March 25 was announced as Greenbrier’s head coach.
Hibbitts went 13-29 in four seasons as Westside’s coach, taking the Patriots to the Class AA state playoffs in each of the past two years. Westside finished 3-8 in 2013 because it forfeited four games because of the use of an ineligible player. Hibbitts said there was just an oversight regarding the transfer papers for the player, who was later approved to play, and there was no intention to deceive. Georgia High School Association executive director Ralph Swearngin said it was just a communication mistake and Westside handled the issue.
Still, the Patriots made the playoffs for the second year in a row, coming after Westside hadn’t reached the state playoffs since 2005.
Hibbitts steps in for Troxler, who went 21-22 in four seasons and qualified for the state playoffs in each of his final three years.
One major change for Hibbitts will be school size. This season, Westside competed in Class AA, though it will move up to Class AAA next season. However, Lakeside is in Class AAAAA, which is the second-highest classification.