New James Island football coach wasn't leadership committee's first choice

The James Island Charter School will introduce its new football coach during a press conference Wednesday. But the coach, Ike Allred, wasn't the candidate the school's leadership committee recommended to the charter school board last week.

Tommy Norwood, the head coach from Ragsdale High School in North Carolina, was the top choice, said sources close to the situation. He was one of seven coaches who were considered for the job. Allred was No. 4 on the list but was hired anyway after the school board rejected Norwood, met in executive committe for four hours and announced the search was still on. Days later, the board hired Allred without consulting the leadership committee.

The other candidates included Paul Standard of St. Pius of Atlanta; Brad Adams of Georgetown High; Matt Campbell, who had college experience at VMI; Bob Via of North Carolina; and Dwayne Garrick of Williston-Elko.

Keith Bolus, chairman of the school's board of directors, wouldn't comment if Norwood or Allred was the top choice, and added that all candidates were extremely quailified.

"In my opinion, and not necessarily that of others, (Allred) was a better fit for what the James Island (Charter) School needs," he said.

Bolus said the board didn't have to hire any candidate on the list.

Bolus said the hiring process was a three-step process. The first included the athletic committee, which consisted of athletic director Tom Hatley, board member Billy Tanner and Bolus. They went through the applicants' resumes and came up with a list, then passed it on to the leadership committee, which included the athletic committee and other officials, including interim principal Rich Gordon.

The coaching selection concludes a stormy chapter in the hiring process that even included a lawsuit by principal Bob Bohnstengel.

Late last year, the board placed Bohnstengel on paid administrative leave, and it tapped Gordon, an assistant principal, to run the school during his absence.

Bohnstengel, in turn, sued the school, seeking a ruling that would allow him to continue leading the school this year, according to his lawsuit filed in Charleston County Court of Common Pleas.

At the time of the lawsuit, Nancy Bloodgood, Bohnstengel's attorney, said this situation was sparked by a disagreement about who would choose the school's next football coach.

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