The only item left on Lakeside High School's staffing agenda this summer is to find a wrestling coach.
The school filled two athletic openings last week, naming Jon Johnson the Panthers' next athletic director and T.J. Davis the next baseball coach.
Johnson's contract doesn't start until July 1, but he went to work Tuesday, meeting with coaches and ensuring each sport was in order.
"There's a lot going on," Johnson said. "It's kind of hit the ground running and make sure we got people driving the buses and who's going to coach and what sports and how they're doing that.
"We'll talk to some of the coaches and try to get our participation up and give our kids the best opportunity to go out there and be successful."
The first personnel decision of Johnson's tenure will be to replace departing wrestling coach Randy Hill, who will coach at East Jackson Comprehensive High School next year. Johnson said an active search is underway for Hill's replacement and that he started hearing interest in the position as soon as he was named athletic director.
"For 14 years, he's been there," Johnson said. "All of a sudden, that program is missing that cornerstone of it. He's going to be a hard, hard man to replace."
The Panthers started summer baseball Thursday with Davis at the helm for the first time. The Panthers' former junior varsity coach waited anxiously as Lakeside officials waited to see whether Westside coach Gerald Barnes was interested.
Davis was offered the job on Memorial Day and immediately accepted.
"I'm real excited and looking forward to leading this group of guys," Davis said. "Of course, our goal is to win the state championship and go to the state playoffs and do well. But I'm very glad and fortunate to get an opportunity to do something like this, especially in the county I grew up in and played ball in."
Davis played four years at Evans High School and later at Montreat (N.C.) College. He was the head baseball coach at Columbia Middle School for three years before joining Lakeside.
Barnes interviewed at Lakeside on May 23 and officially was offered the Panthers' head coaching job. But Westside named its field for Barnes during a ceremony that evening, and Barnes cited his family situation as a reason he stayed. His wife, Sissy, is battling complications from a stroke she suffered about three years ago.
"Obviously, he's a legend," said Lakeside principal Jeff Carney, who led the search along with interim athletic director Tim Reeve. "He has a lot to offer. I think between his longevity at Westside and his wife, now is probably not a good time to transition."
The Panthers played in the Westside Diamond Classic on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to kick off their summer baseball schedule.
Davis said he was excited with the number of returning players.
"I think we have a real good group coming back," he said. "I think we'll be in good contention for the region."
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