Another offseason of change awaits the Hilton Head Prep athletics program.
For the second consecutive year, the Dolphins are looking to replace head coaches for their football, boys and girls basketball teams.
"You never really plan for it, but you do realize that in coaching, sometimes these things happen," athletics director Rich Basirico said. "Sometimes people decide that it's time to step away for different reasons."
Bob Sulek headlines the departing group, as the first-year head coach of the boys basketball team is stepping down after more than a decade at the school, Basirico said. Football coach Kevin Orford is also departing in order to focus on his business in Virginia, while girls basketball coach Tara Dakolios is leaving due to the upcoming birth of her child.
Basirico is also looking for a replacement for volleyball coach Reed Goldsmith, who informed the school last year that he would be returning to Oregon with his family after the season concluded.
Sulek led the Dolphins' girls program to seven SCISAA Class 3-A state titles in 13 years before taking over the boys team last season. He guided the girls to a 338-49 record, which began prior to the 1998-1999 campaign, before replacing Basirico as boys coach last spring. He coached the boys to just a 4-23 mark in his only season at the helm.
"These kids were given to me and I could have done a better job," Sulek said. "I didn't win to my satisfaction and maybe didn't teach as well. I would rather take the blame in terms of wins and losses, that's me."
Sulek, who will remain as head of the school's mathematics department, said he was grateful Prep gave him the chance to coach on the hardwood for more than a decade.
"The (14) years that the school allowed me to work with the best kids in the world and made my life joyous," he said. "If I died, I'd felt like I'd been in heaven with the kids I've had."
Sulek didn't rule out a possible return to coaching at some point in the future. He plans to continue his work with a New Jersey summer camp in order to stay involved with the sport.
"I hope to be coaching at some point down the road," he said. "You can never tell what's going to happen."
Orford spent only one season with the Dolphins, as he took over the program after they decided to part ways with coach Alex Marx less than a month after hiring him. But after compiling a 5-5 record in his only season, Orford is leaving Prep in order to get his business, KOL Global Logistics, back on track.
"It's a real tough one on my heart," said Orford, whose son, Travis, is a rising senior center. "I'm committed to Hilton Head Prep. I've been there for the last six years helping out in several facets. Fortunately had the opportunity to be head football coach. I never, ever expected to have to step down."
Orford is hoping the next coach of the Dolphins will bring more stability to the program, as Basirico's next hire will mark the fourth football coach in two years at the school. Naturally, Orford believed he would be the one to fit that description.
"It was very emotional," Orford said. "Words can't express how emotional it was for me to meet with coach Basirico, especially knowing all the problems and things that had gone on."
Dakolios went 8-17 in her only year with the girls team, as she stepped in to replace Sulek last year. Dakolios, who is expecting the birth of her child in October, played for four seasons at Prep under Sulek before walking on to play for the University of Virginia. Her Dolphins got off to a slow start this season, losing their first six games, but rebounded to win four of their last seven contests.
"She did a tremendous job with our girls that year," Basirico said. "They were also very young."
Basirico is optimistic that he'll have replacements for all four coaches in the next two weeks. He said the school is close to reaching agreements with a few of the coaches and hopes to have more progression in the searches by the end of the week.
"We've got some excellent candidates for all our positions," he said.