Search to re­place South Pointe foot­ball coach yet to get rolling

The Herald (Rock Hill) - - Front Page - BY BRET MCCORMICK bm­c­[email protected]­al­don­

The South Pointe foot­ball coach­ing va­cancy ru­mor mill is crank­ing full tilt, its em­ploy­ees do­ing 12-hour shifts and pump­ing hot air into the ma­chine all hours of the day.

But here’s a key point: Strait Her­ron’s former job hasn’t been posted on the school district’s job board yet. Which means the search for Her­ron’s re­place­ment has yet to truly get mov­ing.

Once the job is posted ( pos­si­bly as soon as this week), South Pointe ath­letic di­rec­tor Adam Hare and prin­ci­pal Dr. Marty Con­ner will as­sem­ble a com­mit­tee that will as­sist with in­ter­view­ing can­di­dates and the fi­nal de­ci­sion, and Hare and Con­ner will also dis­sem­i­nate a sur­vey to par­ents and other stake­hold­ers to learn what they’re look­ing for in the new coach. Hare would like to be talk­ing with can­di­dates by Jan­uary.

Hare didn’t ex­pect to be hunt­ing a re­place­ment for one of South Carolina’s best high school foot­ball coaches within the first six months of his ten­ure as South Pointe’s ath­letic di­rec­tor.

“I’m get­ting a lot thrown at me here right off,” he said, smil­ing.

Her­ron’s postgame re­tire­ment after the Stal­lions’ over­time loss to Daniel in the sec­ond round of the play­offs caught every­one off guard, Hare in­cluded.

“I think we all prob­a­bly were not an­tic­i­pat­ing los­ing that early,” he said. “It wasn’t some­thing that had been of­fi­cially dis­cussed, but the talk was out there. And I wasn’t go­ing to bother him dur­ing the sea­son to re­ally dig in to what’s go­ing on.”

Her­ron’s de­par­ture closes the book on a wildly suc­cess­ful chap­ter in South Pointe’s young foot­ball his­tory. Her­ron won 102

games and led the Stal­lions to five state ti­tles in seven sea­sons. The 2017 team went 15-0 and won the school’s fourth straight state ti­tle, and Her­ron was named the 2018 U.S. Army Na­tional Coach of the Year. After his on­field re­tire­ment an­nounce­ment sev­eral weeks ago, Her­ron pointed out that he was re­tir­ing from “pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion” and that he wasn’t done coach­ing, only that he’d lost his pas­sion for teach­ing.

Hare taught phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion at Sul­li­van Mid­dle School for the last 10 years, be­fore re­plac­ing Lance Roberts, who re­tired over the sum­mer, as South Pointe’s AD. Con­ner is also in his first year at the helm of the school. Now the pair have to make one of the high­est pro­file de­ci­sions a high school ad­min­is­tra­tor can make in Rock Hill, S.C.

“We want to con­tinue the tra­di­tion of win­ning and suc­cess,’ said Hare, “but at the same time, al­low them to be able to de­velop their own pro­gram.”

Hare said that he and Con­ner would like a head foot­ball coach with ex­pe­ri­ence, a qual­ity that would un­doubt­edly help the Stal­lions’ next head coach cope with the ex­pec­ta­tions that sad­dle the job. Some suc­cess level would be good too, but more im­por­tantly, “some­one that’s gonna work on the char­ac­ter of the kids,” Hare said. “Some­body with a com­bi­na­tion of all those at­tributes.”

Not ev­ery Stal­lion “will be­come a Clowney or a Gil­more,” and Hare and Con­ner want to make sure those South Pointe stu­dents — a huge ma­jor­ity of the foot­ball pro­gram — are de­vel­oped as peo­ple. Her­ron in­di­cated to Hare that was an area in which he thought South Pointe’s foot­ball pro­gram had made great progress in re­cent years, no­tably the weekly life skills pro­grams that the team held ev­ery Wed­nes­day.

Hare is not sure if he will reach out to can­di­dates, or just wait and see who ap­plies. He and Con­ner have re­ceived emails from in­ter­ested can­di­dates al­ready. It won’t be easy for who­ever gets the job.

“Ex­pec­ta­tions will def­i­nitely be high,” said Hare. “I was won­der­ing if we didn’t win a fifth in a row if they were gonna come after the new AD, or not.”

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