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Sunday February 7th, 2016 12:30PM

Chestatee athletics' face-lift continues with three new coaching hires

By Staff
GAINESVILLE -- Chestatee High athletics continued its renewal on Thursday with the announcement that the War Eagles have selected new head coaches for three different programs.

Chestatee wrestling, softball and girls track will each begin new leadership, according to an announcement from new athletic director Ben Corley and principal Suzanne Jarrard.

Former assistant Kyle Barr has been promoted to take over War Eagles wrestling, replacing Carey Whitlow -- who announced his retirement as coach following the 2014 season.

"Coach Barr's experience and knowledge makes him a great fit for Chestatee," Jarrard said. "He has developed a relationship with our kids and our community and we know he will build upon the foundation that he and coach Whitlow worked hard to establish here at Chestatee. War Eagle wrestling is in very capable hands."

Barr has taught and coached for 10 years, including two years as head coach at Lumpkin County, where his teams compiled a 57-12 record.

Barr and his wife Laura have two children, son Landon, who is 7, and daughter Carlee, who is 3.

Meanwhile, Adam Rich comes from West Hall to take over the Chestatee softball program. Rich started his teaching career at Griffin Middle School in Tallahassee, Fla., in 2002, where he coached football and softball. In 2005, he moved to Chiles High School, also in Tallahasse, where he led the softball teams to back-to-back state semifinal appearances. Rich has served as West Hall softball coach for one season.

"I am confident that coach Rich is the perfect fit for leading our softball program," Jarrard said. "His past experiences along with his passion for the game are just the combination we need for future success."

Rich and his wife Nikki have two children: daughter Cameron, who is 4, and son Casey, who is 6 months.

Stacey Merck will take the reins of the Chestatee girls track program.

Merck has served 11 years as a teacher and coach, including three years as track and cross country coach at Davis Middle School in Flowery Branch. She was the head track coach for the War Eagles from 2007-08. In addition, she was the head women's cross country coach and currently serves as an assistant track coach for Chestatee.

Merck is married to Daniel Merck, Chestatee's band director, and has two children: Noah, 14, and Cadence, 11.

"Coach Merck's experience as a running coach and her commitment to our kids at Chestatee make her a great fit for us. We are very happy to welcome her back to this role," said Principal Suzanne Jarrard.
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