HOSCHTON — North Gwinnett did not have to look far to find its next head coach.
The Bulldogs tapped Mill Creek defensive coordinator Bill Stewart on Friday to take over for the departed Bob Sphire, who left in December to take the Camden County job in south Georgia.
Stewart is certainly familiar with the Bulldogs program after coaching against them for the past three seasons, as North Gwinnett and Mill Creek competed in the same region.
Stewart spent the last three seasons overseeing the Mill Creek defense, which was among the best in the state each year. The Hawks advanced to the semifinals in the state's largest classifications each of the past two seasons yielding just 164 total points (8.2 points per game) in that span.
It is not the first head coaching job for Stewart. He was the head coach at Etowah from 2006-11 compiling a 41-26 record with five playoff appearances.
Sphire led the Bulldogs to the most successful era in school history with 10 playoff appearances in his 11 seasons, including runs to the state title game in 2007 and 2013. North Gwinnett went 6-5 in 2016, falling in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA postseason.