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CHARLESTON – New leadership has officially arrived for Charleston’s football and boys basketball teams.

Jerry Payne has been hired as the school’s head football coach, while Brad Oakley was named the Trojans' boys basketball head coach. The hires were approved at Wednesday night’s school board meeting.

Payne replaces Tyler Hanner, who stepped down in January after two seasons as head coach. Oakley replaces Blain Mayhall, who resigned in April after three seasons.

Payne spent the last two years as an assistant to Hanner and was also a Charleston assistant from 2012-13. He owns more than 15 years of coaching in Charleston’s Junior Football League and has lived in Charleston for more than 30 years. He recently concluded his first year teaching in Charleston’s social studies department. He also served as an assistant at Tri-County in 2016 and previously taught at Oakland High School.

Oakley, a Charleston Middle School teacher and former principal (2008-12), has a handful of ties to Charleston’s athletic department. He served as its athletic director from 2008-09, its boys track coach from 2008-09 and girls cross country coach in 2009.

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His primary background, though, comes in basketball. He is a 1991 graduate of Lake Land College and played guard on the Lakers’ basketball team.

Oakley’s head coaching career began in the Mahomet-Seymour School District in the 1990s. His 1996 eighth grade team won the state title, which helped him win the IESA North Coach of the Year. He also served as an assistant at Mahomet-Seymour High School for two years.

From there, Oakley was the head basketball coach at three different Illinois high schools. He amassed a 51-33 record (.607) in three years at Newark High School from 1999-2002, including a 20-9 season in his first year. After a one-year stop at Rantoul in 2002-03, Oakley coached Cumberland from 2003-07. He went 67-47 (.588) in his tenure with the Pirates, highlighted by a 20-9 season in 2004-05 that earned him JG-TC Area Coach of the Year honors.

Oakley coached Cumberland’s boys track team in 2007 before joining Charleston’s school district. He served as the principal at Ashmore Elementary and the assistant principal at the middle school from 2012-17. He was the middle school principal from 2008-12.

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Contact Patrick Engel at (217) 238-6856. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickEngel_

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Sports writer

I cover Eastern Illinois football and basketball, as well as Mattoon/Charleston prep sports, for the JG-TC

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