Ocoee Middle School has taken steps to upgrade its coaching ranks with the announcement a former Cleveland High School coach is returning to Bradley County to lead the football Colts.
OMS Principal Ron Spangler and Athletic Director Kent Smith announced Monday that Ronnie Weir, who coached the Blue Raiders in the 1970s, is taking over the OMS football program. Weir was a four-year letterman with the CHS Blue Raiders at quarterback, graduating in the school’s second graduating class in 1968.
“Coach Weir brings a lot of experience to the table,” stated Smith. “We feel like we got a steal. This is a great hire for our program.
“He is known as a very hard worker, which will be great for our kids,” Smith added. “We wanted someone who was going to put the time in with the kids and for everything we’ve heard about him, he’s that type of guy.”
Weir replaces Doug Saffles who led the Colt program for the last three years. Current Ocoee assistant coaches Duke Snyder, Ricky Henry and Harry Dillon will retain their positions with the team, while Eric Swafford and Mark Swanson will work with the sixth-grade squad.
Weir then played corner with the University of Tennessee freshmen under former UT Coach Doug Dickey, before transferring to the University of Chattanooga where he finished his playing career as a strong safety under Coach Hal Wilkes.
Weir was head coach at Cleveland High in 1977 and 1979, before taking a position in the private sector with Bowater in Charleston. The Cleveland program was taken over by former Coach Benny Monroe.
Weir stayed with Bowater (in security) for more than 29 years, retiring in 2008 to return to teaching in Murray County, Ga. He will not only guide OMS’ football program but also will serve in the classroom. His wife, Judy, also will be an Ocoee Middle School English teacher for the coming year.
This past school year Weir coached the seventh-grade team at Bagley Middle School in Georgia, prior to having this opportunity to return to Cleveland and the Bradley County school system.
Weir, a member of the Bradley County Oldtimers Hall of Fame, is married to the former Judy Burner. He has two older children, Donald Weir and Christy Edgemon, and he and his wife have an 11-year-old son, Jacob, who will be a sixth-grader at Ocoee Middle.
Weir said he is looking forward to taking over the Ocoee Middle School football program. He said he is expecting 100 to 125 kids registering for the football team and is looking for improvement this season.
The new Ocoee Middle School coach grew up in Cleveland, attended the old Allen Elementary School, Blue Springs Elementary, Arnold Junior High and Cleveland High.
Weir and his family live in south Bradley County, in the Buck’s Pocket community.
n Tryouts for the Ocoee Middle football team are scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon June 26 through June 30. Registration will continue throughout the week, and additional information can be obtained by calling the school office at 476-0630.
n Free physicals for Ocoee Middle School athletes are scheduled at 4 p.m. June 22 at Walker Valley High School.
A physical information form is required prior to the physicals and can be picked up at the OMS office. You can also go to tssaa.org and print a form.