Lakeside High School certainly had its share of troubles lately. The minor scandal involving the schools principal and his hiring of an athletic director with a checkered past has kept students, faculty and parents distracted for much of the year, and hurt feelings are often slow to heal.
Doctors will tell you that the first thing that must be done in treating a wound is to clean it out. Perhaps the best medicine for Lakeside, then, is the clean start it gets next year with a new principal and a new athletic director.
Fifteen people applied for the head coach vacancy, and Principal Jeff Carney whittled it down to five finalists. Even though Carney conducted the search without the use of a parent committee, there was a distinct longing within the Lakeside community for the equivalent of medicinal chicken soup - a comforting choice that would do no harm, and certainly could do a lot of good.
Thus, Carneys prescription is Randy Hill. The choice of many of the schools parents and athletes last year, and a part of the school since it opened its doors in 1989, Hill didnt make the final cut as the schools head coach. That disappointment didnt deter Hill from the job. He stuck with it, Carney says of Hill. He was loyal to the school, and it paid off.
We want to put things in the past behind us and move on, says Hill, clearly excited about his new role. Weve got to keep positive.
Booster Club President Rick Evans, who often was in the thick of the controversy this year, also is pleased with the choice of Hill - and with the effort to encourage the healing process.
Randy was one of the finalists last time, and he had a lot of support from the parents, the students and the staff, Evans says. I think this reaffirms that support. Its big for the school; we need a person who can rally the troops and get us all back on the same page.
Its important to remember in this discussion that Lakeside isnt even known as Columbia Countys most athletic school. Quite the opposite; the schools academic rank and test scores consistently are among that highest in the area, as is evident from yet another Lakeside student being honored this year as Star Student.
Even so, just as Evans High has found that a long-distance travel schedule can hurt athletes academics, so has Lakeside suffered from the distractions of the ongoing controversy with its principal and head coach.
The healing has begun. Like Hill says: Its time to move forward.
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