High School Sports

Prep hires Faulkner to coach boys hoops, Graham to lead volleyball team

Jerry Faulkner is coming back to the sidelines.

After stepping down nearly two years ago as boys basketball coach at Hilton Head Christian Academy, Faulkner is returning to the court -- this time at Hilton Head Prep.

"Everything about him from teaching the game of basketball to teaching young men is at the top," athletics director Rich Basirico said. "We're very pleased and honored that he's coming to our coaching staff."

Faulkner never envisioned doing this again. But the 67-year-old, who stepped down as coach of the Eagles in September 2010 after health concerns arose, said he became motivated after speaking at Nike basketball clinics and other coaching seminars. His health has also improved since he stepped aside at Hilton Head Christian, he added.

"I knew I still had a passion for the game, but I didn't know if I ever wanted to coach again," Faulkner said. "It really wasn't in the cards. I wasn't considering it until I got the call from Rich and I told him I'd think about it."

But it didn't take long after that for Faulkner to jump on board, as the former Clemson assistant agreed a short time ago to take over the reigns of the Dolphins. He replaces Bob Sulek, who compiled a 4-23 record in his only season as the boys coach following a highly successful run with the girls team.

"What they've done in the past doesn't matter," said Faulkner, who will meet his new team for the first time Wednesday. "It doesn't matter. My goal at the end of the season is to make them better people, better players and whatever ability that team has, for them to achieve or over-achieve to that level."

But Faulkner -- who has compiled over 700 victories and seven state titles in over three decades as a head coach -- wasn't the only hire Basirico announced Monday. The Dolphins also brought in Steve Graham as the successor to former volleyball coach Reed Goldsmith, who moved back to Oregon with his family after last season.

Graham, who is also the coach of the Hilton Head Volleyball Club, led the Dolphins' junior varsity program last year.

"He did a wonderful job with our girls," Basirico said. "They improved tremendously from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. The girls respect him, like him and respond to his teaching. So we're very excited about having Steve on our staff."

Two more positions still remain open, however. Basirico said the Dolphins are close to naming a replacement for girls basketball coach Tara Dakolios -- who left after one season due to the upcoming arrival of her first child -- while the football coaching search will likely wrap up late next week. Prep is down to four finalists for its football position, but Basirico declined to release the names of the remaining candidates.