For almost 20 years, Jack Jolly has served as the face of the Carolina Forest baseball program, guiding it from infancy to status as a Lower State baseball powerhouse.
Following a 2016 season in which he led the Panthers to within a game of the state championship series, the longtime Carolina Forest head man apparently is ready for another challenge.
Jolly will assume the position as head baseball coach at Dorman High School, located just outside of Spartanburg for the 2016-17 school term. Carolina Forest athletic director Tripp Satterwhite was the first to break the news.
“It’s a bittersweet day for all of us at Carolina Forest,” he said. “We’re certainly happy for Coach Jolly ... he’s a great coach but an even better person. He built our program from the groud up, and has a great relationship with everyone here and has been an incredible asset to our school and community.”
Taking over in 1997, Jolly is the only coach in the program’s history, leading the Panthers to a 435-307 record. During his time in the Carolina Forest dugout, he was named S.C. Baseball Coaches Association (BCA of SC) coach of the year eight times, including this past season in which he led the Panthers to a 23-8 record – spending a large share of the season atop the Class AAAA poll.
“I will miss Carolina Forest tremendously,” Jolly said. “This place will always have a special place in my heart. To be there from the beginning, to be the only coach in the program’s history and to have a tremendous impact during that time means a lot to me. More importantly, it’s a place four of my children have learned, grown and graduated.
“We could not ask for a better education and great people to work with.”
Speaking of family, the want to be in closer proximity to their loved ones in the Upstate proved to be the chief lure for the Jollys. It’s something the family looked into for the past few years, but in the same vein sought to make sure it was a perfect fit.
“After the season, we were made aware of the Dorman job. ... I looked into it, one thing led to another and they offered the job, which I accepted,” the former Carolina Forest coach said. “Certainly, when walking on to the campus there is a ‘wow’ factor, but I also noticed the cleanliness of the school, how organized and orderly things were, and how much pride they took in their facilities.
“More so, I felt I was meeting with first class people that care about their kids, and want to see their program excel.”
Jolly takes over a Dorman baseball squad that finished second in Region II-AAAA a season ago, with hopes of taking a step forward in its pursuit of a state championship.
This place will always have a special place in my heart. To be there from the beginning, to be the only coach in the program’s history and to have a tremendous impact during that time means a lot to me. More importantly, it’s a place four of my children have learned, grown and graduated.
Former Carolina Forest baseball coach Jack Jolly, who announced he is leaving to take the same position at Dorman High School
But as he departs the coast, Jolly said he has one regret.
“I will leave with the void of not being able to lead these kids to play for a state title,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. We played for five Lower State titles, but were unable to take the next step. Hopefully, the next person to lead the program will be able to help them take the next step.
“I’m leaving this program in good hands.”
According to Satterwhite, the search for the program’s next baseball coach has already begun, with the opening soon to be advertised through various outlets.
“We’ll be posting the job ASAP to get as many applicants as possible,” the Carolina Forest athletic director said. “But I will say, this situation is a bit different because they’re replacing someone who has been there since the beginning ... there are big shoes to fill.”