Al Calcutt said he wasn’t interested in the Hannah-Pamplico football coaching job when it came open a year ago.
This time around, he pulled a 180. The Carvers Bay athletics director and offensive coordinator was approved as the Raiders’ new coach last week. The former Georgetown and Creek Bridge head coach left the latter after the 2011 season having been through some of that school’s worst seasons on the field.
He said the experience humbled him, and after helping Carvers Bay to the Class A Division I state title game last fall, he’s ready to lead another program.
“For some reason this year when it came open again, something was getting at me and it just wouldn’t go away,” Calcutt said. “I got to meet some great people and realized how hungry they were. Likewise, they could see how hungry I was and how passionate I am.
“It wasn’t something I was looking for. It really wasn’t. Being a part of Carvers Bay and being able to play for a state championship, I had a great time and had every intention of coming back.”
Calcutt’s 33-80 all time record as a head coach includes an 8-3 mark in his first season at Georgetown (2001). He was with the Bulldogs for three seasons as a head coach after three as an assistant under Ken Cribb.
From there, he took over at Creek Bridge from 2004-2011. The Class A program struggled and was 0-10 in Calcutt’s final season.
“I am a totally different man, a totally different football coach, than I was when I left Creek Bridge,” Calcutt said. “Just having that time away to kind of relax and be a part of a good tradition, it got the fire going again, the passion re-lit. I know I can bring that to Hannah-Pamplico.”
Much like Creek Bridge, Hannah-Pamplico has struggled of late. The Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2008 and were also winless last fall under former Myrtle Beach assistant Matt Moss.
Moss left after one season to accept a position outside of coaching and teaching.
In addition to Carvers Bay, Creek Bridge and Georgetown, Calcutt has worked at Williston-Elko, Marion and South Florence.
A decision on his position at Carvers Bay has yet to be reached. Several in-house candidates already in coaching positions could be in line to take over the administrative duties, as Georgetown County Schools allow coaches to also serve as a school’s athletics director.
Christian Academy ready for next step
Marty Williams has been in this situation before at bigger schools in the South Carolina High School League.
With a limited roster and limited experience, Williams’ Myrtle Beach Christian Academy team is about to make its biggest leap to date in its short history. The Saints, courtesy of increased overall enrollment, will be moving up to 11-man football starting this fall. The expected move was made official by the South Carolina Independent Schools Association earlier this year.
“We didn’t have much of a choice,” Williams said. “We were kind of mandated to play, but it was always our intention [to move to 11-man] to make it more attractive to kids in this area.
“SCISA independent football is pretty good football, really. … Our schedule is pretty strong. We wanted to go 11-man as soon as we could. This kind of forced us to do it.”
Williams, who spent time as a head coach at Johnsonville, Gilbert and Myrtle Beach between 1988 and 1997, often dealt with tiny rosters at his first two spots. And although he had fewer than 30 players on his team last year, adding three more spots on each side of the field isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
In anticipation of the move, the Saints ran a triple-option offense last year similar to the one run at Socastee the last decade.
“All we did is add two tackles and another halfback. It was a smooth transition,” Williams said. “We didn’t change our numbers; we didn’t change our tags. Eight-man football was a lot of help.”
The Saints have also received a boost from playing in some seven-on-seven leagues this summer against area SCHSL schools. Christian Academy will do so again July 8, when it will play Conway, St. James and Aynor.
Williams’ team will open the regular season Aug. 29 at Dillon Christian. The following week, the Saints will have their home opener against Charleston First Baptist at Ashley Booth Field.