Summerville looks to fill void ‘quickly’

Summerville assistant Joe Call (right) is one of several candidates for the interim head football coach position.

For the first time in 63 years, the Summerville High School athletic department will be under new leadership beginning in the fall.

When head football coach John McKissick retired last week, he also stepped down as the school’s athletic director. Dorchester District 2 superintendent Joseph Pye announced last week at the McKissick press conference that the positions of head football coach and athletic director would be split, leaving Summerville High principal Kenny Farrell with plenty of work to do over the next few weeks.

Farrell is currently working on solutions for vacancies, with the football program being the most pressing appointment. That position will be on an interim basis, he said.

“We are currently interviewing all members of the varsity coaching staff, getting their input and ideas on the direction of the program going forward,” Farrell said Monday. “My hope is that we can make a decision by the end of this week. Football is just around the corner so we need to get everything in place as quickly as possible.”

The top two interim candidates for the head football position are offensive coordinator Joe Call and defensive coordinator Britt Blanton. McKissick endorsed Call, his grandson and former quarterback, for the position at his retirement.

“He is more prepared for this job than I was when I was hired,” said McKissick.

Farrell says it is his hope that the athletic director’s position be filled on a permanent basis. Applications will be received until July 8 and interviews will begin soon after. Farrell indicated the position has drawn interest from within the school district as well as from those outside the district.

“We want to hire the full-time athletic director, that’s our goal,” said Farrell. “However, if we feel like filling the position on an interim basis is best for the program, we will do that. But we are getting a lot of interest from very qualified people so far. We feel confident that we can find the right person to lead our athletic program.”

Current head boys’ basketball coach Dr. Greg Elliott is the former athletic director at Hilton Head High School and was a finalist for the opening at Conway High earlier this spring.

Also in Dorchester District 2, Ashley Ridge appears to be close to naming its new athletic director. Bobby Behr stepped down from his post earlier this spring to accept another position within the district. Head baseball coach B.J. Bellush and assistant principal Randall Tucker are two of the three finalists for the position.