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Butler's Harden takes Jenkins County job

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Butler will have to continue its run without Ashley Harden.

Ashley Harden's first victory at Butler High School snapped the program's 41-game losing streak.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/FILE
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/FILE
Ashley Harden's first victory at Butler High School snapped the program's 41-game losing streak.

Harden, the head football coach who led the Bulldogs to a 15-6 mark the past two seasons, has taken the same job at Jenkins County.

“They’ve got a total commitment to winning and doing whatever it takes to bring the program back out of the slumps that it’s been in,” Harden said.

The coach said he was offered the Jenkins County job in November after Butler’s season ended against Sandy Creek, 55-12, in the first round of the Georgia High School Association’s Class AAA state playoffs. Since then, Harden said he went down to Jenkins County a couple times to check it out before he made his decision.

Harden, who accepted the job last Tuesday, said he wanted to take on another rebuilding job.

“I really made up my mind right before we came back to school,” he said. “It's kind of fun. It's a lot of work. It's really rewarding to go in and turn it around. It says a lot about you, your character and patience.”

Harden went 15-16 in his three seasons as Butler’s head coach, inheriting a program that hadn’t posted consecutive winning seasons since 1987-1989.

His first victory – a 42-0 win against Westside in the first game of the 2010 season – ended the team’s 41-game losing streak.

Butler opened 5-0 in each of the past two years, receiving a state playoff bid this season. It was the program’s first trip to the state postseason since 2003.

Jenkins County High School, located in Millen, Ga., went 1-9 this season and hasn’t posted a winning season since 1999. It’s a member of Class A in the GHSA.

At Butler, Harden won at least seven games in both of his final two seasons; Jenkins County hasn’t won more than six in a year since 1966.

Faced with another rebuilding job, Harden leaves behind what he described as the best teachers he’s seen when it comes to supporting students.

“It’s hard to leave something like that,” he said. “We love Augusta.”

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/13/12 - 05:05 am
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That man is one heck of a

That man is one heck of a coach to turn Butler around like he did. I hope the future rewards him in big ways.

OhWell
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OhWell 01/13/12 - 06:57 am
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Being a Jenkins County Alumni

Being a Jenkins County Alumni nothing would make me prouder that to see my beloved Eagles Soar. He has great opportunity there and with the new prison economics should be on the rebound. Thanks Coach Harden in believing in JC and I am sure your rewards will be GREAT!

justthefacts
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justthefacts 01/13/12 - 07:32 am
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Off topic, was there ever a

Off topic, was there ever a release of the report on the Warren county coach beaten by the Hancock Cty players?

augfootballfan
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augfootballfan 01/13/12 - 07:48 am
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i think he got out when the

i think he got out when the getting was good. Butler looks like it loses all its core players and with a JV team that was awful, Butler might be on a downward spiral again

markmjtx
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markmjtx 01/13/12 - 08:08 am
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Good luck Coach. You did a

Good luck Coach. You did a great job at Butler. And always remember to watch the speed limit driving in Millen!

augfootballfan
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augfootballfan 01/13/12 - 08:43 am
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the Jenkins co BOE approved

the Jenkins co BOE approved him at last months meeting,, Why is the Aug Chronicle so far behind in reporting this. Everyone knew this a month ago

jbfj
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jbfj 01/13/12 - 04:55 pm
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So does this mean he doesn't

So does this mean he doesn't want to stay at one school more than a few years and then move on? I'm not surprised he would leave Butler after the pitiful support they give their football team, I attended the playoff game at Sandy Creek and there couldn't have been 25 Butler fans in the stands, plus next season could easily be winless with the nucleus coming back. I don't know that I've seen a smaller high school football team in all my years, and that includes the smallest classification, and I'm not talking height and weight. Good luck in finding a new coach that will want this job.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/13/12 - 05:19 pm
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JBFJ, that's what's so

JBFJ, that's what's so amazing about the job he did at Butler. Those kids loved him and came out to practice like they never had before. Remember the comments of previous coaches? The coach before him said if he kicked them off the team for not showing up for practice, he wouldn't have enough to play on Friday. An energetic high school coach, like Coach Harden, can create a successful program. Dang, I hope Butler is able to find someone to keep that program going.

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