CLARKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
AHREN SELF DIDN’T GROW UP IN ATHENS. AND he didn’t play for the University of Georgia. But the Clarke Central head coach has found a love for the community and his team that kept him
in the Classic City — and allowed him to become a head coach.
Though he didn’t grow up dreaming of being a coach, Self
realized he didn’t want to sit behind a desk in a suit every day.
So, he hung up the tie and traded it in for a headset and whistle.
“I feel like I haven’t worked a single day in my life,” Self said.
“I think being around people makes you feel young. I feel like
After spending a decade moving around for various
I’m 18 years old, even though my body tells me I’m not.”
Self, a safety at the Citadel, was a graduate assistant
for the Bulldogs until his coaching career moved him to be
an assistant coach at a variety of other schools including
Syracuse, Elon and Tennessee-Chattanooga.
collegiate positions, Self found an opening at Clarke Central
that would keep him in one place for a while and his family
near his step-daughter at Emory. That place was Athens.
After five years of being the Gladiators’ defensive coordi-
nator, Self was hired as the successor of his former head
coach, Leroy Ryals, turning down an opportunity to join Ryals
in South Georgia.
“I felt it was time for me to take the next step,” Self said. “I
While the organizational aspects of being in charge had to
wanted to be a head coach.”
Whereas an assistant works almost completely on player
development, the intricacies of being a head coach— from
planning practices to community relations to “deciding
screw-in cleats or molded cleats”— took some adjustment.
be learned, his intensity and coaching ability segued easily
from defensive coordinator to head coach.
“He’s always getting the best out of everybody,” Clarke
Self, looking ahead to his third year leading the Gladiators,
Central quarterback Jack Mangel said. “He’s real intense. He
makes you work hard, and he’s always on you. You can’t not
Self preaches improvement and accountability to his play-
ers. He said that when he’s not actively coaching on the field
he’s monitoring grades, developing team-building activities
or finding other methods to better his players.
doesn’t believe in being stagnant.
“You’re either getting better or getting worse,” Self said.
“You’re never staying the same.” - Caitlyn Stroh
MAYS HIGH SCHOOL
ON AN EARLY SPRING SUNDAY, CORE Y JARVIS was dressed in his powder blue Mays sweatshirt, leading MVP Camp drills for over 300 high school football players.
Even outside of football season, outside of his own play-
ers, Jarvis never stops coaching.
“I find myself coaching when I don’t want to coach,” Jarvis
Jarvis said he always wanted to be a coach, following in
said. “It’s just in me, and I don’t think it’ll ever leave me.”
Jarvis, approaching his third season as head coach at Mays
High School in Atlanta, has coached at Crisp County, M.L. King
and Duluth, but the Atlanta-native returned to his roots, coach-
ing in the Atlanta Public Schools district he once played in.
the footsteps of both his uncle and father, who coached at
now-extinct Atlanta schools Lakeshore and College Park.
“I felt like it was in my blood,” Jarvis said. “I love kids and,
of course, I love the sport as well.”
Last season, Jarvis led the Mays through a historic Novem-
ber, with a victory over Lovejoy marking the first Atlanta city
school to defeat a top-ranked team since 1995 all the way
to the Raiders’ first state title game in school history. After
falling just short of a championship, Jarvis has his sights set
on one more win next season.
“I’d love to go on and win [a state championship],” Jarvis
said. “It’s been an ongoing dream for me. Our program
deserves it because we’ve got great kids.”
Both on and off the field, Jarvis puts great value in the
relationships he has formed with his players. He gets texts
messages from former players frequently, to which he always
responds, no matter the time of day. He laughed saying that
he thinks he’s maxed out friends on Facebook and followers
on Twitter in efforts to keep up with his players.
“Probably the biggest joy I get is when kids come back and
The father of three coaches track for Mays and, for just for
they’re successful,” Jarvis said. “My thrill is watching those kids
sign on signing day and graduate from high school and college.”
While some coaches take time to set down the headset
and drop the ‘coach’ title, Jarvis finds other avenues to do
what he loves.
fun, his daughters in track and soccer.
“Outside of coaching? My wife would probably tell you I
coach some more,” Jarvis said with a laugh. - Caitlyn Stroh
Ahren Self enters his third season at Clarke Central with a goal of returning to the playoffs
Corey Jarvis coached Mays to 12 victories and the state title game in 2014.