Summerville High School head football coach Joe Call resigned from his position on Wednesday, calling it a personal and family decision.
Call became the interim head coach in 2015, replacing his grandfather, John McKissick, who retired after 63 seasons.
McKissick died on Nov. 28, 2019. He compiled a record of 621-155-13 in 62 seasons with the Green Wave, the most wins of any football coach at any level, and captured 10 state championships, his last coming in 1998.
Call was named permanent head coach in 2016. In five seasons he compiled a 38-20 record. His 2018 team reached the Lower State final in Class AAAAA before losing to Dutch Fork. The Green Wave went 8-4 last season.
“It was a very difficult decision but one that I am at complete peace with,” Call said. “I have a family, two young kids, and this is something that we, as a family, talked about a lot. As hard as it is to leave Summerville, a place I grew up, played, and coached for 17 years, this is the right thing to do.”
Call and his family recently moved to Mount Pleasant and the coach said daily commutes to Summerville would put undue stress on the family. Call and his wife Elizabeth, a doctor, have a 13-year old son and a 9-year old daughter.
“To be fair to the administration and to my coaching staff, I just felt now was the time to do it,” Call said. “I wasn’t going to wait until I found another job. This was something that was going to happen. I knew once we made the move that this would eventually happen. I didn’t want to hang on here. I didn’t want the talk to start and to appear to be going behind anyone’s back. This is best for both parties.”
Call said he is not leaving Summerville for another coaching job but plans to apply for the opening at Wando High School. On Feb. 7, Jimmy Noonan announced he was stepping down after serving as Wando's head football coach for 11 years. Wando, the largest high school in the state with more than 4,000 students, went 8-4 this past football season.
“I have no idea if I could be hired, but I will look into the possibility,” Call said. “I don’t think I am done coaching.”
The head coaching position at Summerville is sure to attract major interest. Call and his staff have put in a solid foundation, something that made the final decision to leave even more difficult.
“Our players and our staff, everyone bought in and we were on the right track,” said Call, a graduate of The Citadel. “We were building something great. This decision has nothing to do with the players or the staff or the administration. This was all about my family.”
Summerville athletic director Brion Rutherford released a statement Wednesday after Call met with the players and coaching staff.
“Our football program, and all of Summerville High School for that matter, have been extremely fortunate over the last 17 years to have Joe Call as part of our school family as a teacher, assistant coach, head coach and mentor to hundreds of Green Wave,” Rutherford said. “In the last five years in particular, Joe displayed strong leadership and tenacity in taking over the program from his grandfather, the legendary John McKissick. I personally wish Joe and his family well in the next chapter of their life. Joe Call will always be a Green Wave.”
Rutherford said a search for a new head coach will start immediately.
“We will begin a vigorous search for the next leader of the Green Wave football program. In the meantime, (offensive coordinator) Hunter Spivey and (defensive coordinator) Ahren Self will continue to provide support and leadership for our student-athletes in the classroom and weight room as we prepare to compete at the highest levels of AAAAA football moving forward.”