High School Sports

Kent vacating his post as Hilton Head High AD

For the second time in three years, Hilton Head Island High School will be replacing its athletics director.

Principal Amanda O'Nan confirmed that Lew Kent will not return to the position next school year after he turned in his resignation, effective June 30.

No successor has been selected, O'Nan said, but internal candidates emerged Wednesday afternoon -- football coach Tim Singleton among them -- after Kent sent an email to the school's coaches announcing his resignation.

Kent said he resigned earlier this year to "pursue other career opportunities" but didn't elaborate. He is in his third year as the school's athletics director after taking over for Greg Elliott in 2008.

"I met some great people," Kent said. "We have some really dedicated student-athletes, coaches and community members. That's what I'll look back on."

The school has begun to look ahead. O'Nan said a committee will be formed to choose Kent's replacement, though she gave no timeline for the hiring process. The members of that committee have not yet been selected, she added.

O'Nan said she has not established any preference for internal or external candidates.

The job was posted on the Beaufort County School District's website Wednesday morning.

A previous athletics director job posting was added to the website Feb. 16 with the location "to be determined." The posting sparked rumors within schools in the district -- and with coaches and administrators -- that one of the county's ADs planned to leave, but Jackie Rosswurm, human resources officer for the district, said in early March that the job was simply a way for the district "to build a bank of candidates" for the future.

Singleton said he plans to be among the internal candidates who apply for Hilton Head High's vacancy. He has coached the Seahawks football program for the past eight seasons and compiled a 41-47 overall record. He is also the president and CEO of Strive to Excel, a non-profit educational organization used by the district.

"I would love the opportunity to take on that role and be the AD," Singleton said. "I think I'm ready for it. I know I can take on that challenge."

The school's assistant ADs -- Ken Updike and Wayne Quinlan -- were less sure whether they would apply.

Updike was a finalist for the job in 2008, when the school hired Kent. Updike has led the boys basketball program for the past two seasons.

Reached Wednesday afternoon, Updike said he had just learned of Kent's intentions to leave through an email and hadn't had time to weigh his options.

"All I've been thinking about is the basketball program and my players," said Updike, who has been an assistant AD for the past five years. "If the administration here thought I was a good fit and they suggested I apply, I'd probably do that. But I feel like I have some unfinished business with the basketball program."

Quinlan, the boys soccer coach, said he has given thought to making a run for the position, but he remains undecided.

He said he grew close with Kent in his three years as his assistant and realizes the "difficult conditions" within the job.

"I do understand his frustrations with the job," Quinlan said. "I think Lew is a great man and a great athletics director. He's professional to the nth degree. I'm very sorry he's leaving."

If any current Hilton Head High coach were offered the job, they likely would be forced to give up their current coaching position.

Over the past few years, the Beaufort County School District has advised high school principals to prevent their ADs from also coaching varsity sports -- an advisement that forced Battery Creek AD John Drafts to step down as the boys basketball coach last year after 27 years of coaching the Dolphins. It also contributed to Elliott giving up his post as Hilton Head High's AD and focusing on his duties as the Seahawks boys basketball coach for one year before leaving for Summerville.

Singleton said the policy will not prevent him from putting his name in the mix.

"I'm content with what I've done with the football program, as a player and now a coach," Singleton said. "... If this opportunity gave me a chance to grow the athletics department for the greater good of the community, I would choose that."

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