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Football: Denmark hires 3-time North Carolina state champ
Mike Palmieri
Mallard Creek (N.C.) head football coach Mike Palmieri will become the second head coach in Denmark High School history. Photo courtesy The Charlotte Observer

Denmark became the final Forsyth County school to fill its head coaching vacancy Tuesday when the Danes announced the hire of Mallard Creek (N.C.) football coach Mike Palmieri.

Palmieri comes to Georgia after winning three state championships in North Carolina's highest classification, 4-AA, including three in a row from 2013-15.

Palmieri will replace Terry Crowder, the school's first football coach who retired from public schools last month after two seasons at Denmark. Crowder is now the head coach at King's Ridge Christian School.

Mallard Creek finished 10-1-1 last year before falling to eventual state champion Vance, 13-7 in the second round of the playoffs. Palmieri compiled a 139-34 record in 13 seasons at the school, which opened in 2007.

"I know it's in a great area," Palmieri said. "I think it's in a growing area — pretty similar to Mallard Creek when I moved to Charlotte 13 years ago. I kind of like starting programs up, you know, and building the younger kids and building a culture at a school. I've had multiple job offers between the last five or six years and they never really fit me as a coach, and my family is really important, too. So, when I saw Denmark open, I said, 'Yeah, this is something I can reach out and try to get.'"

Mallard Creek went 2-20 in 2007-08 before exploding for 11 wins in 2009.

Palmieri was twice named North Carolina Associated Press Coach of the Year (2014, 2015).

"I just think it was getting the right coaches on staff," Palmieri said. "I've been blessed with really great assistants. That's a very important thing. It's been a great administration, and then the kids buying in and the community buying in."

Mallard Creek has produced several NFL players, including 2018 fifth-round draft pick Jaylen Samuels, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thaddeus Moss, who won the 2019 national championship with LSU, also played under Palmieri at Mallard Creek.

"This is family. When you're at any place with the success we've had, it's very difficult to leave," Palmieri said. "As a coach, 13 years at the same place — you've got to change it up. I just think it's a great time. The program at Mallard Creek is in a really great place. I've got a great opportunity, so I'm looking forward to it."

Last week, West Forsyth announced the hire of David Svehla and Lambert hired Tommy Watson.