West Forsyth became the second school to fill its coaching vacancy Wednesday, as David Svehla was introduced as the Wolverines' next head football coach.
"West has been a good school, athletically, since it opened," Svehla said. "I know it's strong academically. I live in the county; all the schools are excellent. I was certainly attracted to the fact that, since I live in the county, it'd be a better opportunity, maybe, for me and my family. West specifically is a draw, because they've just got really good kids, a strong administration, some excellent assistant coaches, and I just see some potential there to try to build that program again."
Svehla, who spent eight seasons at Etowah, is no stranger to Forsyth County.
His daughter, Taylor, graduated from South Forsyth in 2015 before playing volleyball at Georgia College, and younger daughter, Avery, is a junior on the War Eagles' volleyball team.
In fact, Taylor was a senior at South Forsyth in 2014 during Etowah's first-round playoff game against the War Eagles.
"I remember Taylor was sitting in the middle of the South student section over at Etowah, which is exactly what she should have been doing — with her friends, cheering on her friends," Svehla said. "That was a fun night on our side and we really enjoyed that. I don't harbor any ill will toward her anymore for cheering against her dad."
Svehla led Etowah to a 49-41 record from 2012-19, including a school-record 11 wins in 2014 when the Eagles advanced to the Class 6A semifinal.
His 49 career wins makes him the winningest coach in school history.
"We have kids over there that were really coachable, and they were willing to do whatever was asked of them," Svehla said. "And the second thing is, we had really strong assistant coaches who were really good for our kids, not only on the field but in the classroom and helping those kids learn accountability and leadership and all those things that are important — all those things that matter, especially when you're willing to put together a successful program. I think those two things are really important."
Svehla has been coaching since 1998, with two stops in Nebraska (Raymond Central, Lincoln Northeast) and one in Illinois (El Paso-Gridley) before settling down in Georgia in 2012.
West Forsyth finished 5-5 in 2019, falling 35-14 to Parkview in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.