Former Westlake head coach, Rico Zackery, hired by ECU football program for defensive role

Former Westlake High School head football coach, Maurico “Rico” Zackery has left the high school ranks to become the new defensive end/outside linebackers at East Carolina University, per head coach Mike Houston.

Zackery has made his way around coaching football in the state of Georgia. The former high school coach has made stops at Central-Carroll High School, Georgia Southern, Villa Rica High School and Kennesaw State. He held numerous different titles with those programs before coaching at Westlake and ultimately taking a job on the ECU football staff.

The Newnan-native is a Georgia Southern alumni who played defensive back for the Eagles from 2002-2006. In his four years in the football program, Zackery won two Southern Conference Championships in 2002 and 2004. He earned a bachelor’s degree in commercial recreation and tourism upon his graduation.

At Central Carroll High School, Zackery coached at the school for five seasons and was the defensive coordinator for two years and head coach/co-athletic Director for three. In his first season as a head coach with the Lions, Zackery won Times Georgian Coach of the Year in 2013 and earned Region-Coach of the Year honors the year after. Under Zackery, the Lions had a record of 30-6 and won the region title in 2014.

After five seasons with CCHS, Zackery was hired to go back to Georgia Southern as a recruiting director and was back with the Golden Eagles for a season. He then left Georgia Southern after a season to become the head coach at Villa Rica High School where Zackery spent two seasons in 2017-2018. With the Wildcats, Zackery went 5-5 in both seasons leading the program.

Before ultimately leaving to become the head coach at Westlake, Zackery accepted a job on the Kennesaw State football staff and had multiple positions within the program. He accepted the job in 2019 and served as the defensive ends/outside linebackers coach from 2019-2022. While handling defensive responsibilities, Zackery became the special teams coordinator as well but only for two seasons (2020-2021). The Owls made the FCS Playoffs twice during his tenure and Zackery had the opportunity to coach with current ECU defensive coordinator, Blake Harrell.

Ultimately, Zackery left Kennesaw State for a job leading the Westlake Lions football team, where his teams scored 81 total touchdowns with an 18-7 record in two years with the program.

Now joining the ECU football staff, Zackery looks to contribute to a program that saw just two wins in 12 games and let up near 23-points per game last season.


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