The Ashley Ridge football team starts spring practice Thursday, and the Swamp Foxes will start drills with a new coach.
Kenny Walker on Tuesday was named football coach at Ashley Ridge High School.
The 40-year-old Pennsylvania native met with players in the afternoon, then outlined practice schedules and set goals.
One thing he would like to see is more students playing football. He also wants to see more dedication in the weight room.
"A lot of players go both ways," said Walker, who has been an assistant at Ashley Ridge the last two seasons. "I'd like to get to the point where we have only one or two playing both ways and have the others focus on playing on one side of the ball. I would like to see us improve our overall physicality. We need to catch up in the weight room."
Walker, who also coaches golf at the two-year-old school, replaces 58-year-old Doc Davis, who spent two seasons as coach.
Davis was hired to build the Ashley Ridge football program. It opened in time for the 2008-09 school year, and the enrollment was limited to freshmen and sophomores. The Swamp Foxes went 2-9 in 2008 and followed that with a 4-6 record last fall.
Davis said it was time for a new direction in life after spending 48 years as either a player or coach when he announced his decision in late March.
Walker has been an assistant football coach for the Swamp Foxes the past two years after serving as a coach and teacher at Summerville High for more than 13 years.
Walker was one of the most successful wrestling coaches in the state at Summerville, winning seven Class AAAA state titles in 11 years at the helm of the Green Wave machine.
Only Jim Barnes, who coached at Airport and Rock Hill, had won more Class AAAA state titles (16) than Walker at the time of his resignation. Walker guided theWave to state titles in 1998, 2001-02, 2004-06 and 2008.
Walker also spent 12 of his 13 years at Summerville coaching at all the levels.
The Swamp Foxes move from Class AA to AAAA in the 2010-11 academic year, and Walker will face his old school.
"I'm looking forward to that," he said. "I know all the coaches and this is a big challenge. Moving up two classes is a big challenge and we have to step up and face those guys. Competing at the Class AAAA level will be more familiar for me. When we played at the AA level, we were in towns that I didn't even know existed."