New Flowery Branch football coach honored to take over an already-successful program

Just as soon as the former Flowery Branch coach left the room, its athletics director introduced Tester as its new head coach.

Tester’s promotion to the role of head coach was greeted with good energy from his players, he said.

The new Flowery Branch coach spent three seasons as its defensive coordinator (2018-19, 2021) and forged a strong bond with his predecessor.

For the 2020 season, Tester was defensive coordinator at Brookwood High.

However, once the season ended, he was contacted by Hall about returning to Flowery Branch.

“At first, I thought he was joking about coming back,” Tester said. “As soon as we had the right job lined up in the building (teaching history), I knew what I wanted to do. It was the ultimate compliment that (Hall) trusted me with being defensive coordinator. “

Last season, Tester’s defense for Flowery Branch allowed 14 or fewer points in six regular season games.

Now he’s bringing the same hard-nosed mentality as the man in charge of the entire football program.

Right away, Tester said he got a favorable response to the news from his players who will be coming back in 2022.

“Their was a spark in the mood when they were told I was the new head coach,” said Tester, who has been in education for 25 years. “There was a good vibe the rest of the day. They’re pleased and excited about moving forward. “

This marks Tester’s first head-coaching position in Georgia.

In 2016, after spending 10 seasons in the state as an assistant coach, he was offered and accepted the head coaching position at Grand Haven High (Michigan).

However, the logistics didn’t work out getting his wife, Cari, a teaching position in the same Michigan district.

Once Tester made the decision to come back to Georgia, his wife broke the news that she was pregnant with their third child, a son named Leo, who is now 4.

In 2006, Tester’s first coaching position in Georgia came as defensive coordinator for Rick Hurst at Eastside High in Covington.

There, in 2008, the Eagles’ defense held the opposition to single-digit points eight times (twice in the postseason).

The following season, Eastside’s defense had six games where the opposition scored less than 10 points.

Both of those Eagles programs finished with 11 wins.

Tester spent seven seasons at Eastside, then the following three years at football-powerhouse St. Pius X, in Atlanta.

Tester explained that neither himself or his wife had connections to Georgia before moving here 16 years ago, but were always intrigued by living, working and raising a family in this part of the country.

The new Flowery Branch football coach had an early introduction to coaching in Michigan.

A year after helping lead his high school program at Muskegon Catholic Central to the 1990 state championship, as a senior, he was back the following fall to start shadowing the defensive coordinator.

That planted the seed, right away, that Tester’s calling was in coaching.

Originally a criminal justice major in college, he changed his degree to history to help make a path to a teaching position after graduation.

After leaving his last head coaching position six years ago, Tester didn’t know if he’d ever have the same position again.

What was most important was having his family all under the same roof.

And Tester was more than content coaching defense.

“I’m not someone who chases jobs,” Tester said. “I knew if I was going to be a head coach again, it would be for all the right reasons.”

The Falcons’ new coach has a keen sense of the level of support their program receives and the buzz the football program creates on campus.

His goal is to add to what coach Hall already put in place.

“We have great support and community involvement with our football program,” Tester added.

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