Saying it was God’s calling, Jimbo Hale is enthusiastically ready for his new role as the athletic director for First Presbyterian Christian Academy.
Hale officially started his job around May 27, replacing outgoing AD David Jones, who spent two years at FPCA.
“I really felt God was telling me to move on it,” Hale said. “I was happy at Long County, where I was coaching at before. I was the assistant football coach and also a PE teacher. … I wasn’t looking for a job, but God works in a mysterious ways. … Mrs. (Amy) Swindell (FPCA’s former headmaster) approached me and told me there was going to possibly be an opening and asked me if I was interested and it went from there. One thing led to another and here I am.”
Jones said his time at FPCA was memorable.
“I had two enjoyable years and it was a new experience,” Jones said. “I’ve had a career where I’ve had a variety of experiences from rural high schools to inner city schools … leading up to my 12 years at Bradwell Institute, which was like an international experience in a sense because you had students that came from all over the world … and then a private school, which was small. I had never been in a school that had so few students, and that was interesting in itself.
“I worked with a good staff and was fortunate enough to be associated with my friends Ernie Walthour, Jay Osteen, Jerry Kicklighter and David Linderman, to name a few among many. I was blessed to coach some good kids and see some of them off to college, so it was another chapter in my long book and I hope to continue doing something else to add another unit.”
Hale said he has a list of things to do at FPCA, but unity is priority No. 1.
“The biggest task is going to be creating a sense of unity among our athletic sports teams,” he said. “We want our softball athletes supporting our soccer athletes and our soccer athletes supporting our tennis athletes and so on. That is going to take a little work because up until now it’s kind of been each team for their own.”
He said he also wants to get the athletic program at FPCA well established in the Georgia Independent School Association.
“We really want to do the best we can in doing the right thing in every aspect of our athletic program, and one of the first things that it’s going to take in order to do that is to have all of our sports teams unified,” Hale said.
He said he is working on a four-year plan that will help develop more school spirit, and it all starts with developing the students’ and athletes’ character.
“We are going to talk about living life based on Biblical principles and Biblical truths,” he said. “We have six core values that we are going to stress in that regard.”
Jones’ departure also left a vacancy for the men’s basketball coach. Hale said he was thrilled to learn the job recently was accepted by Ernie Walthour.
“Coach Walthour is an integral part of our program,” Hale said. “He supports it and he is a big fan and he does a great job at the St. James Community Center. Those kids over there are really fortunate to have a guy like him. He is a big character (building) guy and he fits right in with what we are trying to do here at First Presbyterian.”
Hale said the main emphasis is building the programs and helping the kids develop from the ground up.
“Teaching them to do right in every aspect of their lives … that will be the true measure of our success,” he said. “If we win, we will be ecstatic, but the ultimate measure of success will be how these kids turn out 10-15 years down the road and what kind of citizens they are.”
Hale originally is from Gainesville, Ga., and played football at West Hall High School. Afterward, he spent some time in the armed forces before playing football at Trinity College in North Dakota. There he was a linebacker and defensive end and served as the team’s captain his senior year.
The 37-year-old then volunteered his time to coach at Jackson County High School in Jefferson, Ga., then coached three years in Rome, Ga., and two years at the college level at Trinity Bible College. Last year, he coached one season at Long County High School.
Hale’s football background will be put to good use at FPCA as he is developing the school’s first football team. The Highlanders are slated to field a varsity football squad and kick off their football program by August 2012.
Hale also will be the school’s strength and conditioning coach.