Following two years in his second tenure as an Etowah assistant, defensive coordinator Howie DeCristofaro will be leaving to become the head coach at Campbell High School in Smyrna.

Campbell has hired Howie DeCristofaro as its new head football coach.

The defensive coordinator at Etowah for the last two years following six years as the head coach at Milton, DeCristofaro will begin his new position at Campbell on Thursday.

Campbell athletic director Jeff Hutson said DeCristofaro was exactly the kind of coach the program was looking for. 

"We decided we needed to go in the direction of a veteran coach," Hutson said. "(DeCristofaro) is the full package. He is dynamic and he comes in with a plan."

DeCristofaro will begin his 19th season as a head coach in 2019. He was a head coach for 12 seasons in Florida before coming to Georgia in 2007 as an assistant at Etowah under then-coach Bill Stewart.

After time as an assistant at Etowah and Pope, he returned to head-coaching at Milton in 2011. There, he was 39-28 and led the Eagles to five state playoff appearances in six seasons, winning the Region 5AAAAAA championship in 2014 with an 11-2 record.

DeCristofaro is one of only two coaches in Milton's nearly 70-year history to have a winning record at the school. The other is current coach Adam Clack, who took over for DeCristofaro two years ago and led the program to its first state championship last season.

DeCristofaro takes over for Kyle Adkins, who left Campbell in February to become the new coach at Bradwell Institute in Hinesville. The Spartans were 1-9 last season, but only one year removed from their first playoff appearance in more than a decade.

"I'm really excited to come to Campbell," DeCristofaro said. "More than anything, we want to give the kids an opportunity to win."

DeCristofaro said he has had an introductory meeting with the players, but the real work starts now. With a month before spring practice is set to begin, he said the key will be building trust.

"More than anything else, we need to get to know the players," DeCristofaro said. "Then, we need to learn the basics of working. We need to get in the weight room.

"There may be a few eyes opened. I believe in discipline. We're going to do things the right way. We just need to learn to trust each other."

DeCristofaro is expected to bring a number of assistant coaches with him, including current Woodstock offensive coordinator Josh Smerker, who had previously worked with DeCristofaro for 12 years and played for him in Florida.

Hutson said Campbell received more than 100 applicants for the job, and he thanked Adkins and his staff for helping make the program an attractive one.

"Because of the job that staff has done, by getting back to the playoffs for the first time in a decade and being competitive, I think it turned a lot of heads," Hutson said. "The quality of candidates were very strong."

In the end, the administration narrowed the candidates to two, with DeCristofaro coming out on top.

With the hire, the last open head-coaching position in Cobb County was filled. DeCristofaro's hiring following those of Lassiter's Sean Thom, Wheeler's Bryan Love, Pebblebrook's Leroy Hood and McEachern's Franklin Stephens.

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