DAWSONVILLE — Eric Herrick is back coaching girls basketball.
The Dawson County Board of Education approved the move on Tuesday, allowing Herrick to jump over from the boys' program and replace long-time coach Steve Sweat, who retired last week.
"Coach Sweat has always been a good friend of mine, and I feel honored to follow in his footsteps," Herrick said. "Hopefully, I can lead our program the same way he has for so many years. I just feel like coaching girls basketball is where my passion is."
Herrick is no stranger to girls basketball, having led North Forsyth for eight seasons prior to coming to Dawsonville in 2019.
In Coal Mountain, Herrick guided the Lady Raiders to seven playoff appearances, including two quarterfinals and two semifinals and played for seven region titles – won three.
And in 2018-19, North Forsyth finished 26-5 and won their second straight Region 6-7A championship. The Lady Raiders also made back-to-back Class 7A semifinal appearances in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
"I’ve spent the last 15 years helping grow the game in this state on the girls' side and feel there is still a lot to accomplish," he said. "I have enjoyed this season on the guys' side tremendously. We had a heck of a year, but I feel my home is on the girls' side."
Last year, he told AccessWDUN that he had an itch to coach boys basketball and Dawson County was the perfect opportunity after Chad Pittman stepped down as the boys' coach.
He inherited a solid program that dominated the non-region and region schedules while earning the program's second straight Region 7-3A title. But an offensive struggle in the opening round of the Class 3A tournament against No 4. seed Cedar Grove led to an earlier than expected exit from the tournament. The Tigers finished 25-3.
He'll find a talent-rich girls program in Dawsonville. They only lose two starters -- Sophia D'Oliveria and Marley Townley -- and the 7th and 8th-grade teams won the mountain league last season. The Lady Tigers finished 14-14 and made their seventh straight tournament appearance in 2020.
Herrick said he's excited about what's coming back and continuing to build the youth programs in Dawsonville.
"I know there are some talented kids returning for Dawson girls. and I’m also excited about the young groups coming up," Herrick said. "A lot of people have invested time in those feeder programs which I’d like to continue to build on."
During his 16 years as a head coach, Herrick has coached girls basketball at White County, Chattahoochee and North Forsyth. His first head coaching job was the Glascock County boys.
The Dawson boys coaching job remains open.