CONYERS -- The recruitment of Shelley Seagraves wasn’t done the old fashioned way when Rockdale County Athletic Director Chad Suddeth began his search to find the school’s next head girls soccer coach.
Instead of Seagraves reaching out to Suddeth directly, she was approached by the likes of Mackenzie Kennelly and Carly Kimpling, who Rockdale County soccer players who knew her as a teacher at the county’s Magnant School.
“The girls reached out to me,” Seagraves said. “The girls knew my background. Word got to Coach Suddeth and he came to talk to me. I really liked him and he helped me make the decision. I was on the fence, but he convinced me.”
With the hiring of Seagraves, who has one year of high school soccer coaching under her belt at Jackson High School, she follows Erwin Equihua, who resigned at the conclusion of the 2019 season to accept a head coaching position at South Gwinnett.
Not knowing if taking on the job would be in her best interest, her conversation with Coach Suddeth made it an offer she jumped on after thinking it over.
“I know that when working with an Athletic Director, you have to have a good relationship,” Seagraves said. “I liked all of the support that he said he would provide for the program. I liked everything that he had to say about the program.”
Seagraves’ soccer background dates back two decades to when she spent her free time at the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association watching her two sons play. Years later, she found herself coaching her son’s high school team at Jackson in 2017.
“Basically I’m a soccer mom turned coach,” Seagraves said. “My kids played soccer at RYSA since they were four. I taught at another high school and my kids played soccer. Their senior year, the head boys soccer coach got cancer before the season started. I decided that I’d rather coach the team than have someone who doesn’t know soccer or care about it.”
Seagraves and the Red Devils posted a 5-9 record and advanced to the Class AAA state playoffs before eventually losing to Long County, 3-1 in the first round.
Coaching the girls soccer program at Rockdale will mark the first time she has coached a girls team, something she said she is really looking forward to.
“I’m very excited,” Seagraves. “I’m very excited to be a part of such a great program. The girls sold to me that they all get along well and won’t have any of that issue. They have a good foundation and that’s fantastic.”