Carver High School has a new head football coach – its fourth in the past year.
Defensive coordinator Calvin Arnold is the replacement for Dre’Mail King, principal Chris Lindsey confirmed Friday. The Tigers went 7-5 this year, King’s lone season as the head coach, and lost in the second round of the state playoffs.
Lindsey declined to explain the change. In text messages to the Ledger-Enquirer, Lindsey said it’s a “mutual departure” but King will remain on Carver’s staff as a physical education teacher.
King, however, told the Ledger-Enquirer in an interview that his departure from the program isn’t a mutual decision.
“I don’t agree with it,” King said. “(Lindsey) wanted me to say yes to some things I wasn’t able to.”
King wouldn’t say what those things are, but they came from “certain people in the community,” he said. King wouldn’t identify those people, but “they do not work in the school,” he said. “It is very disturbing when people in the community don’t do things in the right way, and yet they are being backed.”
Lindsey didn’t respond to the Ledger-Enquirer requesting his reaction to King’s comments.
The Tigers were 3-4 through the first seven games of this season, but they won their next four games, including a 35-6 victory over Cross Creek of Augusta in the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class 4A playoffs. Their season ended in the second round Nov. 18, when they lost 24-21 at Blessed Trinity in Roswell.
“I love the guys I had,” King said. “They weren’t as talented as previous Carver teams, but we did much better than the teams in the three years before me.”
King was offensive coordinator at Meadowcreek in Norcross before Joe Kegler, then Carver’s head coach, added him to the staff in advance of the 2015 season to coach wide receivers. After the Tigers lost in the first round of the playoffs, Lindsey replaced Kegler with former Alabama State head coach Reggie Barlow, who left after two weeks for Sidney Lanier in Montgomery, Ala. Two months later, Barlow left Lanier for the head coaching job at Virginia State.
Now, King is out after a 7-5 season – Carver's worst record since Dell McGee's first year in 2005, when they went 3-7 – and the Tigers continue to seek a way back to the elite level.
McGee led Carver to an 88-19 record in eight seasons (2005-12), including seven straight region titles and a 2007 state championship. He took an off-the-field job as a support staff member at his alma mater, Auburn University, then coached running backs for two seasons at Georgia Southern and now has the same position at Georgia.
Arnold was the head coach of Carver’s arch rival, Spencer, for three seasons (2012-14), leaving with a 9-21 record and no playoff appearances.
Asked why he chose to promote Arnold to head coach, Lindsey texted, “He has matured a great deal as coach since he has been back with us here at Carver.”
Arnold coached the defensive line at Carver in 2006.
In an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer, Arnold said, “I hope to get us back to a winning tradition, making sure all the kids have an opportunity. … The biggest thing is making sure all the kids are treated fairly.”
Arnold, who played on successful teams at Shaw High in the late 1990s, also was an assistant coach at Troup and Dougherty.
Asked why Carver players and supporters should be confident he can improve the Tigers despite struggling at Spencer in his lone head-coaching stint, Arnold said, “I’ve been a part of excellent programs all my life. I’m used to winning, not losing. In every other program, I’ve always been to the playoffs, so I have high expectations.”