West Forsyth’s first-ever victory against Milton in 2010 was the first time Adam Clack was exposed to the Eagles. Clack was a position coach at the time with the Wolverines, which won the game 28-21.
After 2011, West didn’t play Milton again until this past season, while Clack became further entrenched with the Wolverines as offensive coordinator and eventually head coach. But Clack never forgot about the old north Fulton County school.
Which helps explain why Clack resigned Tuesday as West’s football coach to take the same position at Milton, replacing Howie DiCristofaro who resigned earlier this year.
“When you look at some of the things that are in place more from I guess you would call them structural standpoint, not just standing structures, but foundational structures of feeder program, the way the facilities are set up,” Clack said. “Feel like sports have a little more autonomy in Fulton County. Just some of those things. It feels like a very familiar community as I look at Forsyth County and how it relates to north Fulton, so I had some familiarity there.
“I just really looked at it as a great opportunity and just perfect timing for me and the position I’m currently in in my career to take a chance on this.”
A decade run with the Wolverines made it that much tougher for Clack when he broke the news to the team Tuesday night.
“It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Clack said, “just because I love those guys and I love this community and what it’s done for me and what it’s afforded me and my family to have the opportunity to do and progress in my career.”
Clack has spent most of his 14-year high school coaching career in Forsyth County, first at South Forsyth, then at West when it opened in 2007. Clack rose through the ranks under Hepler from position coach to offensive coordinator in 2011 to eventually head coach in 2014 when Hepler returned to coach in his native Florida for a short time.
Clack went 20-12 in three seasons in charge, including 7-4 with state playoff appearances the past two seasons. While Clack maintained West’s competitiveness established under Hepler, he also worked to ingrain the program with priorities other than winning.
“I think, from the full 10-year standpoint, we’re very proud that we built a winning expectation and we’ve been extremely competitive at that school,” Clack said. “Never had a losing season. Made the state playoffs six of the last seven years.
“But more importantly than that, I think we’ve built a program – and we really enhanced that and solidified that over the last years – that puts character and culture first. The hardest thing for me to walk away from is what we’ve done within that locker room, just the bond I feel like we’re forging with those guys.
Clack inherits a Milton program that has experienced intermittent success. DiCristofaro’s Milton teams went 39-28 with five state playoff appearances in six seasons, including a school-best 11-2 in 2014 with the program’s first region title since 1952.
But the Eagles have not won a state playoff game in any other season since the program started in 1950.
“I see Milton as a situation where they’ve always kind of been right there, and I feel like if the right guy came in with the right message and some new and fresh ideas that they could become a perennial contender very quickly,” Clack said. “That is what attracted me to the job. It’s not a rebuild. It’s more of push forward. I think that’s something that is the goal and expectation for the very near future.”
West will have some say in that. The Wolverines and Milton are rivals in Region 5-7A. West won their meeting this past season, 31-6.
Clack knows emotions will be high when they meet again next season.
He wouldn’t have it any other way.
“If I know those guys … I hope that they circle it and it’s something that’s going to drive them, because that’s exactly what I would have wanted them to do,” Clack said. “I know it’s going to be emotional and completely bizarre.”