Longtime Lowcountry football coach Jim Werden dies

Jim Werden, 64, was head coach at Middleton High School for 26 years and spent three years as head coach at West Ashley High School. Wade Spees/File photo

Jim Werden, who coached high school football in the Lowcountry for 29 years, died Thursday night of an apparent heart attack. He was 64.

Werden spent 26 years at Middleton High School, which merged with St. Andrews High to form West Ashley High School in 2000.

Werden had a 204-124 career record, including 196-96 at Middleton. He led the Razorbacks to the playoffs 20 times, winning the Division II-AAAA state championship in 1982.

In 1999, Middleton fielded a team for the final time, and Werden guided the team to a 10-2 record and the second round of the playoffs.

He was the first coach at West Ashley and coached the Wildcats for three years.

Werden was the state coach of the year in 1982, coached in the North-South All-Star Football Game, and led South Carolina to a 21-20 victory over North Carolina in the 1997 Shrine Bowl. In 1999, he was selected as coach for an all-star group of players from South Carolina who competed in the Down Under Bowl on Australia’s Gold Coast.