The North Myrtle Beach High School administration has used an accelerated pace to start finding Perry Woolbright’s replacement.
The Chiefs’ football opening, posted through the Horry County Schools website on Thursday, closed Monday. The position remained open for significantly less time than similar openings at Carolina Forest and St. James earlier this year.
District spokesperson Teal Harding said that the district expedited the closing date in hopes of getting a new football coach in place prior to the end of the academic year. Additionally, in the five calendar days the job was posted the district received 57 applications.
North Myrtle Beach Athletics Director Joe Quigley said he wasn’t positive who applied, although he did say plenty of interested coaches had contacted him directly.
While the district sorts the applications for qualification standards, Quigley said one of the biggest tasks for him and the assistant coaches was to keep the returning players in the right frame of mind.
“Our kids were disappointed. They all loved Perry,” Quigley said. “But our kids understand that coaches come and go. We’re going to put someone in there who is going to be just as strong. And they’re going to love him.”
Woolbright announced Wednesday morning that he was leaving to take the same job at Batesburg-Leesville, the school that won the Class AA, Division II state title last fall. That left North Myrtle Beach with the unenviable task of beginning a football search during the middle of spring practices. Three former head coaches on staff – Steve Campbell, Denver Cromer and Marty Woolbright (Perry’s father) – took over many of the day-to-day operations.
Quigley said any or all of those coaches, not to mention other assistants, could ultimately be candidates if they applied formally for the job.
“We felt what was best for our boys was to open it up,” Quigley said. “I’m sure we’ll have one or two who will apply.
“We want to handle this quickly. When I say quickly, I don’t want to rush into anything. I’m not saying we wouldn’t hire a [current North Myrtle Beach] assistant coach. If they apply, and they’re the best person, we’ll go that direction.”
The timing for Quigley is also a bit difficult in that the school is also in the primary steps of replacing outgoing baseball coach Tony Boyer. He announced at the end of the season that he would step down from his coaching position while remaining in his academic role.
Like other Horry County programs that have had to fill coaching gigs recently, North Myrtle Beach does not have any open teaching positions, limiting the coaching field, per Quigley.
“Baseball, we have talked about it. To be honest, we’re attacking that differently,” he said. “We don’t have any teaching openings. That’s limiting who can apply. … [An opening] could happen. Someone could retire tomorrow. But we’re focusing on football right now.”
North Myrtle Beach has continued its previously set spring practice schedule. The team’s spring game is set for Friday.