Ed Pilcher, who has won a string of titles in his long history as head coach of three programs, was hired Tuesday night as the new head coach of the Berrien Rebels, according to BHS principal Angie Lovein. He replaces Rob Armstrong, who resigned after a single season last month to take an assistant position with Clark Atlanta University.
Pilcher, who resigned from Bainbridge in late January, after five seasons at the helm, has also been head coach at Early County and Thomas County Central, compiling five state championships at Central. With the Bearcats, he went to state in 2009, 2011 and 2012. He was 7-4 last year and the Bearcats lost at Union Grove in the first round of state, breaking a string of four straight wins.
At Thomas County Central, Pilcher’s teams had postseason appearances each season he was there, a span covering 1991 through 2007. The school dominated the mid-1990s, winning five Class AAA state championships in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997. They also were state runners-up in Class AAAA in 2002 and made the semifinals in 2003 and 2007.
Before Central, he was at Early County. After a rough start in 1986, the Bobcats went 5-5, then made three straight postseason appearances, including trips to the semifinals in 1988 and 1990.
Berrien will be a contrast. The Rebels last had a winning record in 1995 (5-4-1). They have seen the postseason six times total in their nearly 60 years, including a single appearance in the state tournament in 1991, when they defeated Seminole County in the first round before falling to Mary Persons in the quarterfinals. Their last playoff appearance came in 1993. Since that final appearance, they have gone through ten head coaches, including three in the past three seasons.
Armstrong’s team went 3-7 in 2012, after two straight 1-9 campaigns even starting the season 2-1. The team also broke its string of 16 consecutive region losses under Armstrong.
Pilcher is not totally unfamiliar with the Rebels. He served as an assistant coach under Berrien head coah Bill McCall from 1983 to 1985, a span where Berrien went 16-13-1, including two consecutive winning seasons.