Battery Creek, Whale Branch seeking new baseball coaches

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comMay 24, 2012 

Two coaches' career decisions have left Battery Creek and Whale Branch high schools with baseball vacancies.

Battery Creek coach Dan Tooman resigned and accepted an assistant principal position at Beaufort High School. Whale Branch's Dean Hawkins, who was also a football assistant, will join the Bluffton High School football staff and help coach the offense under Ken Cribb.

The moves aligned with each's career goals. Tooman was an administrative intern at Battery Creek, led the school's Tri-Academy program and finished his graduate degree in 2011. Hawkins said it was tough to leave the relationships and baseball program at Whale Branch but that he wants to one day lead a football program.

Tooman coached five seasons at Battery Creek. He said the program is moving in a good direction, citing the fall baseball program held the past two years.

"I love coaching and helping that small, tight-knit group of kids," Tooman said. "I felt I was able to be more productive during the school day as an administrator. It's difficult to be an administrator and coach."

Hawkins and Cribb had been in contact previously to talk coaching philosophy, Hawkins said. Whale Branch's offense this past season borrowed elements from Cribb's scheme at Bluffton.

Cribb lured him after hearing Hawkins was trying to land a position at Hilton Head Island High School. The Bobcats' success the past two seasons and move to Class 4-A were appealing, Hawkins said. He also wanted a chance to learn from Cribb.

"When I met with him, it was kind of a slam dunk," Hawkins said.

During the Bobcats' spring game May 18, Cribb called plays for one side and Hawkins the other.

Hawkins said it was tough to leave the Warriors baseball team, which he coached the first two years of the school's existence. Whale Branch lost in the district final of the Class 1-A playoffs this season, and Hawkins believes the Warriors could earn a spot in the Lower State final next season.

"That made it harder," Hawkins said. "But my goal from Day 1 has been to be a head football coach."

Tooman said he will sit in on interviews for his replacement, at the request of athletics director John Drafts. Tooman said he told his players his intentions before the season, that he would resign to pursue an assistant principal job.

He interviewed at Beaufort High School this past week.

"I'm excited about starting," Tooman said.

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