Baxley takes over at Jefferson Davis Academy

First Byline: 
Michael Young-Sports Editor

Jefferson Davis Academy didn't have to go far to find its new Athletic Director and head football coach.
Former Barnwell High graduate Matthew Allen Baxley will serve as athletic director and head football coach when the Raiders take the field this fall.
Baxley replaces Curt Ott, who left Jefferson Davis Academy after three seasons at the position.
Baxley, a native of Barnwell, played college football for the Newberry Indians where he earned a bachelor's degree is physical education.
Baxley's coaching career began at Williamsburg Academy. He served as an offensive and defensive line coach for past three seasons before taking over as offensive coordinator at Clarendon Hall in Summerton.
Baxley said coaching at Williamsburg Academy and Clarendon Hall was a great experience for him, but he's excited to be back home.
"I would like to thank the administration of Jefferson Davis Academy for giving me this opportunity," Baxley said. "I came back here because I love Barnwell County. This is where I grew up. We have a lot of talented players here at JDA. I'm looking forward to working with and helping them improve their game."
Baxley, a 2003 graduate of Barnwell High, played football for former Warhorse coaches Dwayne Garrick and Daryl Smith. He was twice selected all-region as an offensive lineman.
Garrick had Baxley for three seasons, including a 12-2 campaign in 2000 where the Warhorses lost to NFL former No.1 pick Troy Williamson and the Silver Bluff Bulldogs in the Lower State title game.
Garrick, who went on to win a state championship in 2009 with Williston-Elko High, said Baxley has all the intangibles you look for in a young head football coach.
"Matt Baxley is a great fit for Jefferson Davis Academy," Garrick said. "He was one of those players I didn't have to motivate. He was always ready to play. Matt is a hard worker with good character and he is very knowledgeable of the game."
Baxley said his No. 1 goal is to get Jefferson Davis Academy back to its winning tradition in football.
"We had a couple of tough years here in football. I want to get back to the Joey Lott days where we were winning championships," Baxley said. "It's going to take some hard work, but I believe we have the players and coaches who are committed to winning."
Baxley is the son of Steve and Jennifer Baxley of Barnwell.