Friday, June 28, 2013
By Chris Sokoloski
Scott Durham has spent more than a decade as a head baseball coach but is getting his first shot as a head football coach at Andrews High School.
After spending the last nine seasons as the quarterbacks coach at Goose Creek High School, Durham takes over a Yellow Jackets team that went 2-9 last year.
“I’ve always wanted to be a head football coach,” said Durham, a 1997 Clemson University graduate. “It’s what I’ve been working toward since I first started coaching way back in college, preparing myself to be a head coach. That’s how I ended up at Goose Creek.”
The Gators won the Class AAAA state football title in 2011, but didn’t get to defend it in 2012 after the South Carolina High School League ruled the team used an ineligible player.
“That whole year (2011) and that whole ride with that group of kids was just phenomenal,” Durham said. “And I think we were going to top it last year before we got stopped. But even last year, up until that point, just that run with that group of kids, building relationships with those kids, that was just phenomenal.”
Durham has six weeks before football practice starts on Aug. 2. Right now he’s trying to build a staff from inside and outside the school.
Andrews High has one teaching position for an assistant coach.
“The more coaches we have in the school the better,” Durham said. “So that’s the biggest challenge, and it will be a two- or three-year process, as far as building a coaching staff.”
The next step is finding more players.
“Once we get the staff in place we’ve got to start introducing the kids to how we’re going to play, to our system and we’ve got to start beating the bushes, going out and finding them, recruiting,” he said. “That’s sometimes the biggest obstacle in school, you’ve got athletes but you don’t always get them to play football. You’ve got to find a way to get those kids to show up here Aug. 2.”
Durham plans to run the I-formation triple option offense, just like Goose Creek, which requires a team to be strong up the middle at center, quarterback, fullback and tailback.
“Looking at our kids, I think we’ve got the people to fill those spots,” he said. “We’re going to be a tough, physical football team. That’s how we want to play. That’s how we’re going to win games. We’re not going to try and trick people, we’re not going to be real complicated. But our kids are going to be able to execute what we do. We’re not going to do a lot but we’ll be good at what we do.”
On defense, Durham likes the 4-2-5, but he’s waiting to hire a defensive coordinator before he makes a final decision.
“We’re going to do whatever that person is most comfortable with,” Durham said.
He’s keeping an open mind about all his players.
“I don’t want to go in with any pre-conceived notions about any of these kids,” Durham said. “It’s a blank slate. It’s an empty canvas. We’re going in and everybody starts new and fresh and we’re just going to go out there and take what we’ve got and do the best we can with it.”
A 1991 graduate of Pickens High School, Durham has also coached football and baseball at Buford, North Central and Pendleton high schools. His first football coaching job was as the quarterbacks coach at Pendleton in 1996.
Durham cites Chuck Reedy at Goose Creek, and Mike Wells at Buford as two of the biggest influences on his career.
Working with Reedy prepared him to be a head coach, he said, and Wells taught him how to deal with assistant coaches and still be a laid-back person.
The best advice he’s gotten about being a head coach?
“Do what you believe in and be yourself,” Durham said. “I’m not going to try and be somebody that I’m not and I’m not going to try and do a bunch of stuff that I don’t believe in.”
A fellow baseball coach once told him the difference between assistant coaches and head coaches is “they make suggestions and you make decisions.”
Durham does have the advantage of already being a head baseball coach at three high schools, although he admits baseball programs are on a much smaller scale than football programs.
He does not plan to coach any other sports while at Andrews.
“I plan to be 100 percent, fully dedicated to football,” Durham said. “And when football season is over, then it becomes football off-season and we’re going to lift weights and we’re going to train and we’re going to get better.”
Durham will commute from Summerville for at least another year. He and his wife, Melissa, a math teacher, have two sons: Eli, a fifth-grader, and Avery, a pre-schooler.
Georgetown County Parks and Recreation is hosting a free football camp for kids ages 8-13 on July 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Beck Recreation Center in Georgetown.
Coaches from all four county high schools are scheduled to participate.
Water will be provided, but not lunch.
To register call 843-545-3275 or go to www.georgetowncountysc.org/parks.