The Lexington District 1 School Board officially offered former Myrtle Beach High coach Scott Earley the job of athletic director and head football coach at Lexington High School on Wednesday after voting its approval on Tuesday night.
"I'm excited to be at Lexington and to be able to rebuild a program," Earley said. "It's a Big 16 opportunity. It's a chance to compete at the highest level."
The Big 16, otherwise known as Class AAAA Division I, is comprised of the 16 schools in South Carolina with the highest enrollment.
He replaces Allen Sitterle, who retired in November after three seasons at the school. Sitterle posted a 20-17 record with the Wildcats, including 5-7 last season.
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News that an offer had been made surfaced last week as word leaked that Earley was making the cross-county move from Chapin High, where he also served as head football coach and AD, but the offer was not official without approval from the school board.
Earley spent just one season at Chapin, going 7-4 with a seven-game win streak to start the season before losing the last four, including a first-round playoff game. He acknowledged that the timing of the move was not ideal, but said, "Things don't always come along exactly when they need to. It just happened that way."
According to some online posts, Earley's departure from his second school in as many seasons has ruffled feathers in Chapin, just as Tennessee fans became flustered when Lane Kiffin nixed Knoxville for Southern California after a single season.
"[At Chapin] we had a level of excitement that was tremendous. They were understandably upset," Earley said.
Earley, who earned $96,000 under his one-year contract at Chapin, said his new salary will be less than $99,000 at Lexington.
Earley left Myrtle Beach for Chapin after winning the 2008 Class AAA football state championship, but took just one assistant coach, former Myrtle Beach and Coastal Carolina player Chadd Toothman, with him to join the Eagles' staff.
Earley said three Chapin assistants will go with him to Lexington, including Toothman, who will serve as offensive coordinator, and another former Seahawk, Mikey McCoy, who will be an assistant strength coach and defensive coordinator for the junior varsity team.
"It's nice for me to have former players in that position. It's real important to me that Chadd is here with me," Earley said.
Another former Myrtle Beach assistant, Chris Hamilton, is already at Lexington and will be the Wildcats' strength coach and offensive line coach.
So with Earley on the move, will he try to sway any other members of his former Seahawks staff to hit the road as well?
"Nobody's leaving that I know of," said Myrtle Beach head coach Mickey Wilson, who was Earley's offensive coordinator. Wilson said most of the members of the Seahawks coaching staff have strong roots in the area.
Earley, however, said, "I don't have anything definite yet, but there are possibilities.''
Earley's all-time coaching record is 79-33. He posted a 72-29 mark and reached the playoffs in each of his eight seasons at Myrtle Beach with three region championships to complement state title.