High School Sports

Seahawks down to 2 in search for football coach

By CHRIS COX

ccox@islandpacket.com

843-706-8123

The Hilton Head High School football coaching search has officially been narrowed down to two candidates and an offer could be extended to one as early as Thursday, athletics director Mark Karen said.

Georgetown High School coach Bradley Adams and B.J. Payne of Lexington, Ohio, have both been recommended to the school district on behalf of Hilton Head High, Karen said. A third candidate, Josh Just of Hanover High School in Mechanicsville, Va., told the Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette on Monday afternoon that he was pulling his name from consideration.

Just -- who had previously asked that his name be kept private -- is 58-22 as coach of the Hawks since 2003 and is a five-time region coach of the year.

"It's a great situation, a great school," Just said of the Hilton Head High opportunity. "But for me, it's a long ways away."

An official offer from Hilton Head High can not be made until Beaufort County teachers inform the district whether they plan on returning for the next school year, which will be done by the middle of this week. At that point, Karen can extend an official offer to one of the two candidates.

"Based on those numbers, we have to make sure that the slot is available for us to create," Karen said.

Adams, 31, has been head coach of the Bulldogs for the past two seasons, compiling a 12-9 record and two playoff appearances. A former assistant of Bluffton coach Ken Cribb at South Florence, Adams runs a spread option offense and is the first coach in the history of Georgetown football to have a winning record.

Payne, 36, stepped down as Lexington's football coach on Dec. 12 in order to pursue other coaching opportunities, according to his resignation letter. He was 36-24 in six seasons as head coach of the Minutemen.

"He had a very strong desire to come back where his family is from," Karen said of Payne's resignation. "It's a very big deal to him come back."

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