Jasper County narrows athletics director search to 3 finalists

Ridgeland-Hardeeville football coach Blake Raley still in the running

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comDecember 4, 2013 

A former Jasper County athletics director, a Beaufort County assistant football coach and an out-of-town candidate with administration experience make up the three finalists for the Jasper County School District's athletics director opening.

Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School football coach Blake Raley is among the final candidates for his district's position, open after the death of county athletics director James Gardner in September. Raley was the athletics director at Hardeeville High School from 2007 until 2010, when the district decided to hire one AD for the county.

Spencer Bobian, another finalist, is assistant director of Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence and defensive line coach at Whale Branch Early College High School. He graduated from Battery Creek in 2002 and played football at Mars Hill.

And finalist Michael K. Jordan is athletics director and football coach at Denmark-Olar. Jordan resigned his positions in November, effective at the end of the school year, The (Orangeburg) Times and Democrat reported.

District spokeswoman Shellie Murdaugh said more interviews would be conducted before Friday and that the district would like to make a hire before Christmas break, which begins Dec. 20.

Raley declined to comment until a decision has been reached. Attempts to reach Jordan were unsuccessful.

Bobian thanked the search committee for the chance to interview.

"I'm all about helping kids, man," Bobian said. "I'm all about showing kids how to relate academics and athletics together, and one can't be without the other. I just want to see them excel in everything -- whether that's academics, athletics or their post-secondary career."

Gardner, a former member of the Jasper County School District board of trustees, had been the athletics director for the county since June of 2010. He was the county's recreation director from 1992 to 2005 and served as USC Beaufort's director of recreation from 2005 until 2010, when he left to take the Jasper County job.

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