The excited feeling began as soon as Casey Heckathorn walked into Greenbrier High School's gym last week.
The Stallings Island Middle School athletic director and football coach was introduced to his new players for the first time as Greenbrier's boys basketball coach, and he told them he felt like he was back on the court before the big game -- the jittery feeling that comes before breaking a sweat and getting into the flow of the action.
"That's exactly what I remember from playing and even coaching," Heckathorn said.
The 33-year-old told the approximately 50 potential players that their past with previous coaches didn't matter and that they were starting with a clean slate. Heckathorn will hold tryouts soon for the Wolfpack's summer team, which he said wouldn't preclude anyone from trying out again in October.
Greenbrier athletic director Garrett Black moved quickly to fill the opening left when former coach Casey Dees accepted the same job at Grovetown.
Heckathorn was an easy choice.
He coached under Black and Dees in recent years, and in his first year teaching had gotten to know Rodney Holder. Heckathorn's wife works at Greenbrier, and Heckathorn said a move to the school would be natural at some point down the road.
Heckathorn will coach football, basketball and run Stallings Islands athletics program, which is searching for a basketball coach of its own.
Heckathorn said he had the blessing of Stallings Island principal Don Putnam.
"He wants to work it out, I want to work it out," Heckathorn said. "It will be fine."
Prep freshman leads way in girls soccer
Jamie Alexander set the standard for her high school soccer career before it began. Now she's trying to surpass it.
The Augusta Prep freshman was an all-region and all-state selection last season as an eighth-grader. As of April 2, she was the leading goal scorer in GISA Class AAA and her nine assists were second on the team.
Alexander has four game-winning goals this season, including the game-winner against defending Class AA state champ Frederica Academy. The win was the Cavaliers' first over Frederica since 2001.
Augusta Christian names baseball coach
Augusta Christian's whirlwind of personnel changes this year continued last week when the school named Jack Hook its next varsity baseball coach.
Hook has taught and coached at the school for seven years. He will replace Craig Johnson, who is leaving after the school year to move closer to his family in Macon, Ga.
Lions track team at the halfway point
Augusta Christian boys track is at the halfway point of its season. These are the Lions' season bests to this point:
William Banks, 10.93
William Banks, 22.43
Cameron Hoover, 55.00
Mike Robinson, 2:19
Jaiden Brandt, 5:03
Jaiden Brandt, 11:55
Christian Croft, 6'3"
Christian Croft, 19'9.5"
William Banks, 42'5"
Evan Wells, 16.4
Christian Croft, 60.13
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.