EDITORIAL: Red Devils Reloading
In sports, it’s called a rebuilding year. Clinton High Athletics looks at it as re-loading.
Last Tuesday’s 2019 Winter/Spring Sports Awards Ceremony in the Red Devil gym showcased what Clinton High School is losing. Its Athletics Director Dr. Nickie Templeton is leaving to become an assistant principal at Woodmont High School. Its Principal Maureen Tiller is leaving to become the first principal at Fountain Inn High School. Assistant Athletics Director Dr. David Barnes is retiring. Teacher/Coach Paige Drisgula, who turned “a minor sport,” girls track, into a contender and a winner of state championships, is leaving for family duties. It has a new Head Football Coach, Corey Fountain, who comes in from a wildly successful time at Lamar; its former football head coach and CHS-PC alumnus Andrew Webb is leaving for Saluda. We get to see Fountain’s first Red Devil team this week during CHS Football’s Spring Game.
Wow! That’s a lot, even for a medium-size Class AAA school. Templeton cautioned the audience that “I might be back,” and left them with advice.
“Parents, support your child’s coaches. (Your kids) may be asked to do something difficult, something they don’t always want to do. That’s life. They’re going to have a boss someday. Sometimes that’s what we try to protect them from.”
In fairness, it wasn’t all “oh, what do we do now,” at the sports awards ceremony – arranged as a double-program because of how difficult it is to carve out time for basketball awards when spring sports already have started. Clinton High has plenty on the horizon – we have the state champion in a field event, the shot put. We have the best No. 1 singles tennis player in the state, on a team that has no seniors and a Laurens County Sports Hall of Fame coach. We have an emerging golf team led by a single family – first time ever in the state tournament. Our varsity girls’ soccer team made the playoffs in their first season.
Not all goals were realized. Varsity boys’ soccer coach John Michael Hammond said his team did not get to raise a banner in the gym – they will come back hungry to do that, designating a region, upstate and/or state championship. We will always have facilities challenges – we do not have an on-campus football stadium, but we do have a stadium with good bones that’s undergoing a substantial district-funded facelift. Things are going great over there, now that the rain is holding off.
So, Red Devil Nation, We Are Re-Loading. This is the natural ebb and flow of a learning community. Some go, many stay – we teach them, they spread their wings. And, we hope they know, they always have a home.