Atlanta Falcons HS Coach of the Week: East Paulding’s Billy Shackelford

The Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Week program recognizes high school football coaches across the state of Georgia for their hard work and dedication to making a difference in the lives of student-athletes both on and off the field. This season’s eighth winner is East Paulding head coach Billy Shackelford, who is currently serving in his 26th year as a high school football coach.

Shackelford is a Sprayberry High School alum, that took over the Yellow Jackets program when it had only experienced one winning season in the 17 seasons prior to his arrival in 2007. He led the program to its first region title in 31 years in 2008 and he accumulated a 32-22 region record in his 10 seasons spent at the school. Shackelford took over the East Paulding program in 2017 and arrived with the same commitment to the community that has been a staple of his approach throughout his career.

“Coach Shackelford gets his players involved in as many community initiatives as possible and he involves the community in his football program,” said District Athletic Director Jason Freeman. “When Coach Shackelford learned of a football player at neighboring, Hiram High, who’s family’s home had burned down, he made his team and everyone in the program aware and they raised funds to give to the young man’s family. Coach Shackelford also took several of his players over to Hiram High during the school day to present the money they had raised to the young man in front of the Hiram High football team. He then addressed the team about the importance of supporting one another and the “brotherhood” that is created by football.”

Shackelford has also secured a grant to help feed his players nutritious meals in the offseason and the program promotes safe blocking and tackling drills from the varsity team and down to the youth feeder teams.

This year’s team picked up its first victory in a 42-7 win over Cass last Friday and they have three region games left to try and fight for a spot in the playoffs.

“He deserves it,” said Freeman of Shackelford winning coach of the week. “He inspires me. He is a “bucket-filler”. He leaves every situation and person in better shape than what he found it/them. His personality and energy are so contagious. He is passionate about what he does–teaching & coaching. Of course, he wants to win football games, but I have heard him say many times that building strong young men and women of character who will go out into our world and have a positive impact and make a difference, is much more important than the score on Friday night. The world needs more “Billy Shackelfords”.

If you know a varsity head football coach dedicated to making a different on and off the field, CLICK HERE to nominate them for the Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Week Award.


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