Coaching at Green Sea Floyds gives first-year Trojans coach Joey Still a chance to enjoy his profession again.
The opportunity to be the head coach of his alma mater, Barnwell, six years ago seemed like the dream job. But by the end of his fifth year in 2009, when the Warhorses went 2-8 with a couple of forfeits for dressing an ineligible player, the games ceased to be enjoyable for Still and his family.
"The opportunity to go home was amazing," Still said. "But being a hometown guy can be tough, especially in a program like Barnwell where they expect you to win 10, 11, 12 games a year. ... There was so much pressure I couldn't enjoy sitting back and coaching football."
Still has already enjoyed the coaching process a lot more in his short time GSF.
"It was just best for me to get out of there and get a fresh start," he said. "The people here are great; the community is awesome. I can't explain how the community has opened its arms to our family and myself, and how they are hungry to compete in football."
Still went 30-27 at Class AA Barnwell, including 19-6 in region games. The Warhorses went 10-3 in Still's first year at the helm in 2005 and won their first region title since 1997. They regularly played Silver Bluff for the region title in his five years, and went no worse than 5-6 before last year's 2-8 debacle, when Still said he dressed a player he didn't know was ineligible for repeating his freshman year as a transfer.
He previously coached at Blackville-Hilda and Berkeley. "I wanted to raise the expectations and remind the kids and remind the community what it used to be like," said Still, who graduated from Barnwell in 1994 and played for three Lower State championships as a player.
The expectations aren't as great at Class A GSF, where the Trojans went 2-8 last season while losing their final seven games. But Still wants to create them.
Since arriving at the school, Still has emphasized a weight-room program and recruiting players in the school and community. He's up to 36 varsity players, including a pair of powerful of first-year seniors in Nick Grate (6-2, 235) and Derrick Collier (6-2, 215) who could be impact players.
Still is impressed by the existence of both a booster club and touchdown club to support the GSF program.
"The community wants it," Still said. "They are hungry to not necessarily win a state championship every year, but to compete week in and week out. ... If we continue to get better we have a chance to improve on last year's record and do some things that haven't been done at Green Sea Floyds in several years."
Georgetown's Bradley Adams is fairly young for a first-time head coach at 30, but like 28-year-old Perry Woolbright at North Myrtle Beach, his age belies his experience.
Adams, a Loris native, was the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at West Florence last season, and he has been an assistant at Loris, South Florence, Darlington and Mullins, and the running backs coach at Newberry College for two years.
He discussed the job with friend and former Georgetown coach Ken Cribb before accepting it and has been happy with the progress of the players leading up to the first game.
"I felt it was a place that was very capable of winning," Adams said. "I've been happy with the success of the kids; they're slowly, slowly taking steps. It takes a long time to build, but based on the time that we've been here as coaches, we're slowly turning a page at a time. Those pages are thick and we have a long way to go, but we're slowly turning them."
Besides getting the players to believe and trust in the coaches' systems, Adams' staff is also working to get the players to believe in themselves. "They think they want to win, but honestly ... they don't know how to win football games right now, and push themselves to limits they have to be pushed to, to pay the price to be a football player," Adams said. "You've got to have 35 or 40 tough men if you're going to win."
Adams is Georgetown's ninth coach since the school opened in 1985.
The eighth coach, Tyronne Davis, though not new to the area is new to Waccamaw High.
He went 5-6 in 2008 and 2-8 last year as the head coach at Georgetown, where he took over a program that went 1-9 in 2007.
He steps into a seemingly better situation at Waccamaw, which went 7-4 last season, including 3-2 in Region VII-AA, after a 5-6 season in 2008. And he succeeds the retired Burney Bourne, who he worked under as the defensive coordinator at Cheraw, so he was familiar with the team's existing schemes when he took over.
Waccamaw is also a better situation for his family, since Davis lives in the Waccamaw attendance area and his children attend school there.