A new era in many Columbia County athletic departments will take place within the next few weeks with the start of the 2006-07 school year.
Staff changes at the coaching and administration levels will be felt immediately when football season officially kicks off the sports school year Sept. 1.
"We've got a couple of new coaches, and we're going to integrate them into our philosophy at Evans," first-year athletic director Kevin Kenny said. "We're not going to change a lot. Gail Connor did a great job as athletic director. I just want to keep things running smoothly."
Connor announced her retirement in February and will remain on staff at Evans as a part-time physical education teacher.
Closer to the football field, another former athletic director, Mickey Derrick, will walk the Knights sideline beginning this season.
Derrick, who served as Greenbrier's athletic director and head football coach until his retirement last school year, will return to the Evans football staff as a part-time assistant coach.
"We've got this unique situation in that I've got two former athletic directors on staff that I can go to if I need advice," Kenny said. "Between them, they've seen pretty much everything. That helps me out."
Replacing Derrick at Greenbrier is a face that's new to all of Columbia County. Scott Chadwick, formerly a head football coach and athletic director at two high schools in Maryland, will lead the Wolfpack program this year. Spring practices and summer workouts have already given the new coach a chance to get acquainted with his football team, and Chadwick said his squad is getting better prepared each week.
"This has been a valuable time for us," he said at a weekly passing camp in June. "Our biggest strength is that we have so many coachable kids. They're all eager to learn."
Chadwick won't be the only new leader at the Brierpatch this season. In the stands, Greenbrier's marching band will be under new direction. Band director Tom Smallwood stepped down after taking an assistant principal position at Riverside Middle. The result was an empty spot at the head of the largest marching band in Columbia County.
Smallwood's assistant for the past two years, Michael Katterjohn, was named band director and will lead the 260-member band this fall.
Katterjohn said summer camps, practices and his past experiences have aided in his move from assistant to director.
"If I hadn't been here for two years already working as the assistant, it would have been really intimidating and a drastic change for the kids," Katterjohn said. "They really loved Mr. Smallwood, but the transition has been smooth and it's almost over already."
At least eight coaching changes will alter the Columbia County sports landscape in the 2006-07 school year. On top of the list is a group of former assistant and weight training coaches who will get a shot at head coaching for the first time this year.
Lakeside's Ryan Morningstar (boy's basketball), Harlem's Jonathan Holley (girl's basketball) and Greenbrier's Rodney Holder (baseball) are all graduates of Columbia County schools who will serve as head coaches for the first time in their careers this fall.
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