Providence Christian went outside of the state to land its new head football coach, which was announced this week.
The Storm hired Jonathan Beverly, a 10-year coaching veteran who most recently was head coach and athletic director at Childersburg (Ala.). He stepped down from his coaching role there in December.
Beverly, 34, has several ties to the Gwinnett area, including his wife Bethany, a South Gwinnett grad. His in-laws still live in Grayson. He also played college football at Samford with Discovery head coach Efrem Hill and with North Gwinnett grad Jonathan Loudermilk, owner of 180 Sports Performance, a local training facility. He was Loudermilk’s roommate for away games his final two seasons.
“Some time last summer and when we got to Christmas break, my wife is from this area and her family is in this area, we began to pray for an opportunity to come to this area,” Beverly said. “We learned about Providence a few weeks ago and we began to pray intently … Honestly, we just fell in love with everything we were able to learn about Providence. We felt as if everything they had a heart for, everything in their vision for what they wanted in a football program, meshed with what we wanted, what we wanted to build. It felt ordained for us to be there, to partner with them.”
Beverly took over a struggling Childersburg program in 2016, and led Childersburg to a rare playoff appearance in 2017 — the school has just five playoff appearances in a 23-year span. He was previously head coach at Holt (Ala.) for one season and an assistant at Shelby County (Ala.) for two seasons. His called his up-tempo offensive preference “fast, fun and physical,” an attack he plans to use with the Storm.
At Providence, Beverly replaces Parker Conley, who coached the Storm for four seasons, the past three as head coach. When he was hired prior to the 2017 season, Conley was 24 — the youngest head coach in the modern era of Gwinnett football.
Conley went 1-9 in his first season as head coach, then established a school wins record in 2018 with a 4-6 record. His 2019 season was hindered by injuries and the Storm finished 2-8.
“It’s a young program, a growing program, one that from a standpoint of wins and losses has struggled as of late, but one that is full of potential,” Beverly said. “Look at the turnaround the basketball program had this year. Coach (Joey) Thacker came in Year 1, totally changed the culture and made huge a impact with the basketball program. That’s something we want to mimic with the football program. I think we will have success early, but at the same time there is a learning curve.”
Beverly gets a chance to make Providence more relevant in a county loaded with football talent. He begins work at the Lilburn private school in March.
“Gwinnett County, obviously having some of the best football in the country, is exciting,” Beverly said. “On top of that, Providence being a Christian institution and being first-class in everything they do is exciting. … I really believe in the vision (athletic director) Brad Williams has there, Dr. (Sean) Chapman, the head of school, and Mr. (Dan) Knudsen, the high school principal. I totally believe in their vision, totally believe in what they’ve built and what they’re continuing to do.”