When Dennis Daly first moved to Hilton Head Island full time last year, the former prep school lacrosse coach hoped to continue dabbling in the sport he loved while also enjoying life as a retiree.
But things changed when former Hilton Head Island High School coach Joe Monmonier took over as the school's athletics director, paving the way for Daly to step in as the Seahawks' new leader. That transition ultimately proved to be too much for the veteran coach, who has decided to step away from Hilton Head High after one season with the program.
"This is a great part of the country and we're slowly establishing our roots here," Daly said. "We've been very happy with our decision to move permanently to Hilton Head and are delighted with everything.
"As I try to explain to people, I did not come down here to to become a head coach and take on all the responsibilties of being a head coach at a public institution, a public high school, and all of that entails."
Daly, who made five head coaching stops since 1976, had the perfect plan in mind when he and his wife Sandy permanently moved to the Lowcountry. The ideal scenario was to assist Monmonier with the Seahawks, but Daly soon found himself at the helm when former AD Mark Karen stepped away.
"That was not where my mind was when I came down here," Daly said. "If anything, I thought it was going to work out that I would assist Joe. And I think that would have been a wonderful relationship. And it's very possible it would have all worked well and I would still be there."
Daly led the Seahawks to an 8-5 record and a14-3 win over Spring Valley in the first round of the playoffs. He appeared to be the perfect fit for a Seahawks program that had seen his work from behind the scenes before, as Daly served as Monmonier's confidant during his time as head coach.
"I would confide in him when things were going well," Monmonier said. " ... He was a very decorated coach. He was coming down full time. Last year was kind of a perfect storm where he was here, he was already going to be my assistant coach. He had the pedigree of coaching lacrosse at high levels up north.
"I kind of offered him the situation and told him what was going on and really didn't have to advertise (the job) as much as this year."
Monmonier said the search is underway for Daly's replacement, and he hopes to fill the position with someone who can also teach at the school. The job has been posted online and resumes continue to filter in, but the Seahawks' AD offered no timetable on a hire.
The Beaufort County School District does not allow its ADs to also serve as head coaches, meaning a potential return to the field for Monmonier is not a possibility. He said he had no visions of trying to make an exception this time, although he planned on coaching the Seahawks for "the next 10, 20 years" before the AD job opened.
"I don't know if I could do both well, quite honestly," he said. " ... I thought about that a tremendous amount. Can I do both jobs well? Especially in a spring sport, and trying to be there for all my student athletes and all my coaches."
That means the Seahawks will enter the 2014 season with their third head coach in three years. Monmonier hopes the third one will possess similar qualities to Daly, who coached three collegiate first-team All-Americans during his 15-year career at Westminster School.
"The lacrosse experience was not something that was part of the deal," Daly said of his time with Hilton Head High. "I didn't come down here to be a head coach. I came down here just to keep my hand in it. There are more moving parts than can be explained in a few words that just weren't a fit."