Grovetown High School's inaugural sports seasons are more than a year away, but future Grovetown Principal Penny Jackson said she's received a substantial amount of interest in the new school's athletic director position.
She said some inquiries have come from within Columbia County and many have come from around the state.
Jackson said she hasn't narrowed a list of potential candidates. A hire isn't expected until late fall.
"Columbia County has a nice reputation right now athletically," Jackson said. "With a new school, everybody wants to start their own little baby and have their namesake on it forever. I'm very blessed to probably have quite a few applicants."
There has been a lot of speculation about Jackson's choice. She is the current Greenbrier assistant principal, and with the success of that school's athletics programs, some might expect her to look in-house.
Jackson said Grovetown's first athletic director could come from Greenbrier, but she won't play favorites.
"I've had some (Wolfpack coaches) express interest," she said. "But I've heard them express interest from all of our high schools.
"Because I'm at Greenbrier certainly does not mean they get first dibs."
The rezoning plan that will create the new high school and ease congestion in the hallways also will change the pool of athletes for Columbia County's schools.
Some area coaches admit knowing of certain athletes their teams will inherit in 2009, but for the most part, speculation rules the conversation.
The News-Times checked in with Columbia County's athletic directors to gauge their thoughts.
Greenbrier loses students, moves up
Greenbrier's move to Class AAAAA next season, coupled with an expected enrollment drop of more than 600 students, might seem to spell trouble for an athletics program that claims five state baseball titles, a state champion softball team and boys and girls soccer programs annually ranked in the top 10 statewide.
But those who face the Wolfpack each year don't appear too giddy.
"I don't see them falling down athletically that bad," Harlem athletic director Jimmie Lewis said. "They got people moving over there left and right. They'll hold their own."
Greenbrier athletic director Garrett Black said he didn't think the lower enrollment would affect his teams much, but that it would be a positive academically.
"It's reducing our numbers," he said. "From an academic standpoint, the halls are just -- it's unreal how crowded it is."
Bulldogs have been here before
Harlem took a hit when the county was rezoned for Greenbrier's arrival.
Lewis, the school's baseball and football coach, said he lost 18 of his freshman football players and four or five baseball starters.
"It took a mass amount of our athletes," he said. "It opened up, they had to move and that's the way it was. It hit us hard athletically."
Harlem is expected to drop 549 students this time. The Bulldogs athletics programs probably will be affected to some degree, but Lewis isn't playing fortune teller.
"I don't know how this is going to happen right here," he said. "But I'm not going to worry about it. I'm not going to lose sleep over it."
Lakeside will gain
Other than Grovetown, Lakeside is the only public high school gaining students.
The Panthers will get all athletes east of Flowing Wells Road to the Richmond County line.
Interim Lakeside athletic director Tim Reeve said he's heard a lot of speculation about who the Panthers might pick up but only knows of one for sure.
"All we're going to do is gain," Reeve said. "It's just going to help our programs. We're not losing any students, which is what the other schools are going through.
"It's just going to add to our program."
Knights not losing much
Evans will drop about 250 students, most of them to Lakeside. The Knights will add some areas formerly zoned for rival Greenbrier.
From an athletics standpoint, athletic director Kevin Kenny doesn't see his programs falling off much.
"We're really not losing too many kids," he said. "We'll probably lose a couple athletes going over to Lakeside.
"Harlem and Greenbrier probably took bigger hits just because of the amount of kids they're losing."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.