Growth and success have become hallmarks of the Waccamaw High athletic program, and for much of this ascent longtime boys soccer coach Ben Schoen had a front-row seat.
So when approached about potential taking on the school’s athletic director position — an important and complex job overseeing more than 20 sports — Schoen knew it was a job he couldn’t tackle alone.
Though recently receiving an official role in Waccamaw’s athletic program, Schoen has invited a pair of its other coaches to join him at the top of its hierarchy.
Baseball skipper Jeff Gregory and boys lacrosse head man Dan Minkin have also been given a seat at the table. According to Schoen, the move allows each of them to tend to the program, along with continuing their day-to-day duties as coaches.
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“All of us are full-time teachers and coaches as well,” he said. “The reality was this is a big job, and this athletic department has grown to the point we are a participant in every sport sanctioned by the S.C. High School League (SCHSL).
“We are taking on a great athletic department, and want to see it continue in a positive direction. Having multiple people to lean on helps better guarantee that.”
Schoen, who this past spring earned his 300th victory as a coach, will oversee day-to-day operations within the athletic program, with Minkin handling the multitude of paperwork that comes with the job. Gregory, who reached a career milestone of his own this past baseball season with his 200th win, will take care of matters dealing with the school’s athletic facilities.
The trio takes over for Joan Cribb, who spent the past 16 years as athletic director. During her time at the helm, Warrior athletics have earned top billing on the Grand Strand, excelling in multiple sports.
“I started coaching in 1998, and there were only a handful of sports we had,” Schoen said. “But there are a lot of super successful things that make us unique. Our coaches are top notch, we have great student-athletes and an awesome booster club that is second to none. All of those components have helped us grow.”
According to Waccamaw principal David Hammel, those same reasons make the decision to take a three-pronged approach in terms of leadership more reasonable.
“As our athletic program has grown, the need for a more collaborative leadership approach has as well,” he said. “These three gentlemen have different strengths and complement each other very well. Not to mention the fact that they are all three great coaches of their representative sports and we definitely want them to continue impacting our student-athletes through direct coaching.”
Schoen has already seen an increase in activity since taking over the job, most noticed by the fact a summer laden with rest and relaxation now includes more than its share of work.
“Honestly, I’ve been at school more this past week and a half than I have the past few summers,” he said. “We top aerated the fields, logged some paperwork … it’s been some work. But that’s the benefit of having more than one person. Best of all, it gives us a great opportunity and new way to better help and serve our community.”