High School Sports

Hilton Head Prep hires former Hilton Head High AD Lew Kent as baseball coach

Lew Kent wasn't out of work for long.

After his three-year stint as Hilton Head High's athletics director ended earlier this month, he has found more familiar employment -- coaching baseball.

Kent will take over as Hilton Head Prep's head baseball coach next season, headmaster Anthony Kandel said via email. Nathan Stevens resigned from the post after eight years to focus on his new duties as head of the upper school, which begin today.

Stevens said Kent's availability weighed heavily in his decision. The two worked together four years ago, when Kent served as Stevens' assistant coach at Prep.

"That really sealed the deal for me," said Stevens, who coached Prep for eight of its nine years of varsity baseball. "He's a good man with a great understanding of the game. That was an easy one for me."

The job will be Kent's first head coaching gig at the high school level, though he certainly has plenty of experience coaching on the baseball diamond. He managed Radford University for 13 seasons and began his career coaching under South Carolina coach Ray Tanner when he was at North Carolina State.

Kent served as Hilton Head High's athletics director for the past three years. He resigned from that position earlier this spring.

He stressed that he has never left the baseball field. Kent coaches his son Colton's 9-year-old team.

"The communication part is no different, no matter what age you're coaching," said Kent, whose playing experience includes a stop at the prestigious Arizona State before competing in the minor leagues. "It's all about establishing relationships and trust with the players. That's how you coach."

Kent inherits a young team that will have to replace Clemson-bound ace Patrick Andrews and shortstop Matt Layman. Andrews earned first-team all-area honors from The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette the past three seasons, and Layman joined him the past two years.

The baseball job is one of four major sports at Hilton Head Prep to see a coaching change in the past 2 1/2 months.

Kevin Orford was hired in May to replace Ron Peduzzi as the school's football coach. Prep also announced in late April that Bob Sulek will switch from the girls basketball coach to the boys coach, allowing Tara McKnight to take over as the girls coach.

On the baseball field, Kent said he will continue to emphasize many of the same things Stevens did in his tenure.

"When I coached with him, I was impressed about how he treated his players," Kent said. "It got results. He has done a great job at Prep, and my job is to come in and follow his lead."