Tim James is coming home. The son of East Ridge High legendary coach (and stadium namesake) Raymond James will return to lead the Pioneers in the 2016, according to principal Tammy Helton. He replaces Tracy Malone, who will coach Whitwell High this fall. Malone coached the pioneers to a 12-1 record in 2015, including a visit to the state quarterfinals.
James coached at the school from 1998 to 2008, serving as head coach from 2001 to 2008. His father had coached at the school from 1961 until 1991.
James left East Ridge for Heritage High in Catoosa County, Georgia, where he coached from 2008 until 2013. For the past two years, he has coached at Lafayette High in Walker County. He said he leaves Lafayette with "mixed emotions." He said, "I'm excited to come home to East Ridge, but I can't say enough good things about the fans, players and administration in Lafayette and Walker County. They have been great."
He said he's inheriting experienced players on offense, but will need to reload on defense, as the Pioneers lost several key players to graduation. He said he's also looking forward to working with East Ridge's alumni committee, which has been revitalized in recent years. "We need a field house," he said. "We have to work together as a community to improve our football facilities, and I think we can get that done."
James will meet with his new players Monday evening, and is looking forward to spring break at his current school, which will give him a chance to get to know everyone better. Principal Helton said, "This is a win-win for everyone. Tim is ready to come home, and we're excited to have him back."