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High volume of coaching turnover

Posted: May 26, 2013 - 12:06am

By the time the 2013-14 school year begins, the Columbia County coaching landscape won’t have completely changed, but it will have received a significant facelift.

No fewer than five head coaching positions are being vacated. I would had said that five coaches voluntarily stepped down, but I think the realistic number is four.

There is a theme running through these departures. While no job is a bad job when it comes to teaching young people, consider what has become available.

Marty Griffin ended his run as boys basketball coach at Augusta Christian to concentrate on his position as the school’s athletic director and to spend more time with his family. He led the Lions to a 20-6 record in 2013 and a spot in the South Carolina Independent School Association semifinals.

Assistant coach John Harris will take over the reigns of the program.

Griffin’s announcement came after the school’s baseball coach, Tom Abdo, resigned his position right before spring break for what were deemed “personal reasons.” Abdo was not available for comment, and leaving before the end of the season seemed a little sketchy.

Lakeside will have two high-profile vacancies to fill.

After four years with the girls and boys tennis programs, Miranda Whitmire is getting married, moving to South Carolina and taking a teaching job at Pelion High School. Some might opine that coaching tennis isn’t a high-profile job, but if it isn’t, Whitmire surely made this one. The girls team went 22-1, winning the 2013 Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state title. There will be only one senior graduating from the team. The boys team, comprised of five freshmen, a sophomore and a junior, went 18-3, advancing to the state’s quarterfinals.

The Lakeside girls shouldn’t be too upset, as two of them set Whitmire up with her future husband two years ago. At this juncture, Whitmire’s father, Dan, is set to take charge of the squads.

Jay Matthews resigned from Lakeside’s baseball team after his second stint as head coach in a year in which he led the Panthers to a 19-9 record and the Region 2-AAAAA championship.

Like Griffin, Matthews said he wanted to spend more time with family, as did Greenbrier’s Chip Warren, who stepped away from the Greenbrier boys soccer head coaching post.

Coming off the school’s highly successful year, Lakeside athletic director Donnie Burch is stepping away and turning duties as AD over to current head football coach Jarrett Troxler on July 1.

An old county name resurfaced in Tennessee last week when former Lakeside head boys basketball coach John Kucela was tapped to take control of the boys basketball team at Pigeon Forge High School.

Coaches in the county sometimes coach more than one sport or have more than one responsibility in the athletic department, so shifting is not unexpected, but the volume of positions opening up in such a short time span seems like a lot. We’ll have to see what the final tally is when school resumes on Aug 6.

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