BY DAVID SHELTON
Special to The Post and Courier
Lexington High pitching coach Banks Faulkner has been announced as the next head baseball coach at Summerville High School, taking over for interim head coach Alan Bridges.
Bridges has been interim coach since January, when longtime head coach Burt Bazzle stepped down for family reasons.
Faulkner is no stranger to the Lowcountry, having served as the head coach at Wando High during the 2011 season. He left the program after one season and has spent the last three seasons as the pitching coach at Lexington High.
While he was at Lexington, the Wildcats played for the Lower State Class AAAA title in 2012 and won the state championship in 2013. The 2014 club was eliminated from the Lower State playoffs on Monday night by West Ashley.
"This is a great opportunity for me, to be a head coach again at a great program with great support and great kids," said Faulkner. "I've been coaching for 11 years and I just felt that if I was ever going to be a head coach again, this is the time. But I was very happy at Lexington. I had a great job and worked with great people. It had to be a great situation for me to leave Lexington and Summerville is a great situation."
Bridges, who has been a part of the Summerville program for more than 20 years, will remain on the varsity coaching staff.
"We are very excited about having Banks come in and direct this program," Bridges said. "For me, I am all about the program at Summerville and it has been my goal to get the right man for this job. I think Banks can take this program to the next level."
Summerville finished 2014 with a 19-7 record, losing to Sumter in the District VI finals last Wednesday. The Green Wave lost three key senior starters - first baseman Billy Peatross, infielder Johnston McCurry and ace pitcher Zach Mosay - but has some talented players returning as well.
Sophomore Sawyer Bridges, a right-handed pitcher, is a Clemson verbal commitment. Junior centerfielder T.J. Hopkins is one of the state's top rising seniors and is verbally committed to South Carolina.
Through his affiliation with the Diamond Devils summer travel ball program, Faulkner has coached Hopkins and Sawyer Bridges, as well as several other Summerville players.
"I feel like I have a good handle on the program through my relationship with summer ball and with coach Bridges," said Faulkner, who also has worked as an assistant at Gilbert and Blythewood. "I am much more prepared for this position than I was going into Wando. I think the last three years at Lexington have helped me grow as a coach and now I am ready to do my own thing."