East Forsyth has its first head football coach and band director.
The Forsyth County Board of Education on Tuesday approved the hiring of Brian Allison as East's football coach and Liz Savage as the school's band director.
Allison previously coached at Union County for 19 seasons, where he accumulated a 121-77 record during two different stints. Allison began coaching the Panthers in 1996, then left for Winder-Barrow in 2002 where he coached six seasons.
Allison returned to Union County in 2008 and has led the Panthers to seven playoff appearances in the past eight seasons.
Allison's most successful season came last year, when he guided the Panthers to a 10-2 record and an appearance in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Union County has a 54-15 record in regular-season games since 2014.
"He's been able to win and compete at a high level with people that you could argue have more resources than he did," East Forsyth athletic director Matt Hollis said. "He's a man of high character and I think he's a great fit for this area. He embodies a lot of the characteristics of the coaches that have done well in Forsyth over the years. At the same time, I think he's a great fit to open and start East Forsyth."
East Forsyth will open in 2021 and compete in Region 7-3A with Cherokee Bluff, Dawson County, GIlmer, Lumpkin County, North Hall, West Hall and White County.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to build a new football program from the ground up,” Allison said in a statement. “Forsyth County has a strong reputation for academics and athletics, as well as being a great place to work. I’m excited to meet our student-athletes, their parents/guardians, and to establish relationships within the East Forsyth High School community, particularly at the middle school and rec programs.
Allison, who is originally from Blairsville, played defensive tackle at Furman University from 1984-87 and was an assistant coach in 1988 when the Paladins captured the Division 1-AA national championship with a 17-12 win against Georgia Southern.
Hollis said he recalls taking his offensive line to Furman football camps, which is where he met Allison.
"When you do that, you get to watch people work," Hollis said. "You're particular about, 'Hey, I've got my linemen. I want them getting better and you better be working mine.' And they're doing the same thing. They're looking at you going, 'Are you busting them? Are you working them?' He was one of those guys that it was like, 'Wow. That guy right there is making my football team better.'
"That was the first time I got to be around him, and so I've kind of been a fan for years and kind of watched him from afar. When he inquired about this job, I got real excited because he's been stable and I know he's been successful."
Savage also brings a wealth of experience as East's band director.
Savage, who earned her bachelor's degree from Jacksonville State University, led award-winning marching bands, concert bands and jazz bands at Colquitt County High School and has guided middle and elementary school programs in Georgia and Alabama.
“I’m thrilled to lay the bricks for the foundation of a band program that will be the standard for excellence in Georgia,” Savage said in a statement. “It has been a dream of mine to have this opportunity, because I’m driven each and every day by my students. Helping them connect and find a place to belong, as well as build a life-long love of the arts, is essential.