As a new season of high school sports kicks off with football practices underway this week, Beaufort County public schools high school coaches gathered at Bluffton High School for the second annual coaches convocation.
The all-day event focused on promoting a theme of "True Sportsmanship," with discussion on the impact coaches have on their student-athletes.
Speakers at the opening gathering on Thursday morning included Gregory McCord, chief student services officer, and district superintendent Jeffrey Moss. McCord opened by saying he hoped the coaches would take the message of the event and impart it to students.
Moss said it has been a wonderful year for the district's athletics programs, with a handful of state championships and several region titles to show for it.
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"Our student-athletes are wonderful individuals," Moss said.
He also addressed the possibility of two administrative changes in athletics.
Moss and McCord said the district has been discussing raising the grade point average requirement for participation in athletics from 2.0 to 2.3. That would bring it in line with NCAA standards, something Moss said all coaches should be comfortable with, so as to give as many students as possible the proper qualifications for competing at the next level.
Indeed, Moss said students -- who already compile an average GPA of 3.57, according to McCord -- are in favor of raising the minimum.
"That tells me a lot about our character as a district," Moss said.
Moss said the district is also looking into the possibility of implementing random drug testing for student-athletes.
"They did like the idea," Moss said. "The students believe that we should have a serious conversation, and hopefully we will have a serious conversation this year, around random drug testing."
The morning session also included recognition for coaches and schools who won region, Lower State or state championships in 2013-2014. Special mention was made for Hilton Head Island High athletics director Joe Monmonier, whose school won the Class 3-A Commissioner's Cup -- given to the school in each Class that achieves the most athletic success during a school year -- for a fourth consecutive time.
Battery Creek football coach Jim Shuman was also named the S.C. Fellowship of Christian Athletes coach of the year.