There have been some not-so-bright days for Conway National Bank employees in the past year.
On top of the normal ebbs and flows of the regional and national money markets, three of the financial institution’s branches have been robbed since last October. One of those locations, on 21st Avenue in Myrtle Beach, has been hit twice in the past three-plus months alone.
So Tuesday’s gathering of 10 high school football coaches on the second floor of the building provided a much-needed, laugh-filled luncheon.
“This is big,” Coastal Area Vice President Buzz Freeman said moments after the news conference for the 26th annual CNB Kickoff Classic ended. “The other stuff, I don’t know how this sounds, but we’ve had it twice here; we’ve had it in Murrells Inlet. We’ve got eight banks [on the beach side; as well as six more inland]. The probability is you’re going to have it more compared to 30 years ago. But it’s these kinds of things, we’re really into this. … It does help, these positive parts of our job.”
Many of CNB’s top officials work out of the company’s administrative building in Conway. However, Freeman’s office shares a wall with the same room where the Kickoff Classic news conference has been held for the better part of two decades.
Just downstairs from that on May 7, a man walked into the bank, pulled a gun and exited with approximately $4,000. Less than a month later, Tyrone Harts was arrested and charged with multiple crimes related to the incident.
On July 28, the branch was hit again, this time allegedly by Kenneth Green, of Myrtle Beach. Green, per police reports, handed a teller a note. He was arrested and charged within five hours.
Those two were joined by another robbery at the bank’s Northgate Boulevard branch in Socastee on July 7. Two men and two women have been charged in that incident. Lastly, two others are awaiting trial on a another robbery from last October at the Murrells Inlet branch.
Mitch Godwin, another of the bank’s vice presidents and responsible parties for the longevity of the Kickoff Classic, related an old adage about why people rob banks.
“Well, that’s where the money is,” he said, trying to keep the conversation light.
“It’s something in this day and time you expect,” Godwin continued. “One right after another, that was not normal. But everyone followed procedures and everyone was fine.”
Freeman said Williams and others, such as Executive Administrative Assistant Bonnie Galloway, have done everything in their power to keep the Kickoff Classic and the affiliated luncheon as consistent as possible.
The same banner hangs behind the coaches. The same sign-in sheet, notepads and pens adorn the welcome table for coaches, administrators and media. And the same logo – minus the updated year – rests atop the same grey cotton shirts.
A few coaches crack a few jokes at each other, Conway’s Chuck Jordan makes a few about himself or his own team and all of them thank the bank for putting on a set of scrimmages that mean nothing in the win-loss column.
“With athletics, whether it be football or any sport, it’s a great way to escape the craziness that’s going on in our world,” Myrtle Beach’s Mickey Wilson said. “Any time you can have fun and the kids get to have a great time and the coaches get to have a good time, it’s definitely a benefit.”
Turnover for football coaches is nothing new.
But when it doesn’t happen, that’s a bit of a surprise. This will be the first time since 2008 the CNB Kickoff Classic has not featured at least one first-year coach.
To think of how rare that is, eight of the 10 schools that participate in the event have had to replace their coach since that last happened. Three schools – North Myrtle Beach, St. James and Green Sea Floyds – have had to do it twice in the past seven years.
Last year’s CNB had three first-year coaches – Carolina Forest’s Marc Morris, North Myrtle Beach’s Blair Hardin and St. James’ Robby Brown. That was the third such occurrence since 2007.
In 2010, Tyronne Davis (Waccamaw), Perry Woolbright (North Myrtle Beach) and Joey Still (Green Sea Floyds) were also taking part in their first seasons in the CNB. The latter two have also since moved on and been replaced.
In 2007, Drew Hummel at Carolina Forest, Loris’ Jimmy Longerbeam and Green Sea Floyds’ Wayne Williams were all in their first seasons in the CNB. All three were gone by 2013, if not earlier.
Jordan, going into his 33rd season at Conway, and Aynor’s Jody Jenerette (going into his 11th season), are the two longest-active coaches of the CNB programs.
Get your shots in now
Jenerette again used the CNB Kickoff Classic to poke fun at Wilson and the Myrtle Beach Seahawks.
The two friends will face off in the opening game Friday, and the Blue Jackets’ coach was ribbing his buddy.
“They didn’t have a good signing class,” Jenerette said, referencing the “frustration” a potentially top-ranked Myrtle Beach must be feeling heading into the season.
This isn’t the first time Jenerette has brought up the perceived influx of transfers to Myrtle Beach under Wilson. A year ago, he also got the most laughs during the news conference by saying something similar.
“It looks like we’ve got the Horry County All-Stars the first game,” he said prior to the 2014 CNB “It will be good for our kids. I’ve never had one sign with Myrtle Beach.”
If you go
What: 26th annual CNB Kickoff Classic
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Conway High
Price: $5, available at the gate
About: The nine Horry County high school football teams and Waccamaw will pair up for the jamboree-style scrimmages. The matchups are as follows (in order): Myrtle Beach vs. Aynor; Socastee vs. Waccamaw; Green Sea-Floyds vs. St. James; Carolina Forest vs. Loris; North Myrtle Beach vs. Conway.