Thursday, December 5, 2013
High school athletics require a dedicated staff willing to work long hours to see students perform in competition.
At North Augusta High School, one very important piece of the athletics department is Jim Conley. Conley acts as an assistant to athletic director and football coach Dan Pippin, works with the swim team and helps with football games on Friday nights.
“I handle all of the administrative duties in the office of the athletic director,” Conley said. “I handle all of the paperwork concerning the athletes, making sure they're eligible, making sure transcripts are good, making sure the coaches have all of their forms completed. I handle meals for the football team and I run the athletic website, posting schedules, results and whatever the coaches send to me.”
The most important part of Conley's assistance in the athletic office is allowing Pippin to “concentrate on winning games.”
“I'm here to help make Coach Pippin's job as easy as I can,” he said. “I try to take most of the administrative stuff off him, so he can concentrate on going out and winning football games for North Augusta. There are a lot of things coaches have to do, so anything I can do to help out, especially with the rules concerning eligibility in the recent years. I make sure every 'I' is dotted and every 'T' is crossed.”
Conley's assistance is big during football season, when ticket demands and excitement for sports is at a high.
“I sell football tickets in the gym on Friday from 8 a.m. until about 3 p.m.,” Conley said. “We got that idea after going to an away game a few seasons back and seeing that they had a line of people trying to get into the game at halftime. We decided that we would offer the tickets all day, so students, teachers and anybody in the area could buy them. We knocked $1 off the price, which was a bit of an incentive.”
For Pippin, Conley's assistance in the day-to-day operations of North Augusta High School athletics are appreciated.
“Jim, he does a lot for the program,” Pippin said. “He takes a lot off me, freeing me up to focus on coaching and to handle when the big things pop up. The biggest thing, is that he's loyal to North Augusta. He cares about these kids and this program.”
The North Augusta High School swim team has been able to reap the benefits of Conley's assistance since he helped start the program. The swim program, in the beginning, was not funded by the school, and needed outside monies to go to swim meets. Conley decided to create the Yellow Jacket Invitational, a massive swim meet that rivals the state meet.
“Coach Pippin told me to put North Augusta swimming on the map a few years ago,” Conley said. “We decided, after the ruling came down that each team could only have one fund raiser, that we would do a swim meet that would be first-class. We give our officials polo shirts, a rarity in swimming, we give the coaches of the teams nice gifts, to keep them coming back to the Yellow Jacket Invitational. We filled up our swim team slots within 36 hours of posting the meet online, I had to cut it off because we had so much interest. We raised about $6,000 to $7,000 from the meet, which is what we needed.”
Joy Collins, swim coach for North Augusta, said Conley has been “instrumental” to the swim program.
“We could not be where we are today without his help,” Collins said. “He gives tirelessly of his time for the good of the swimmers. He has been the driving force behind the North Augusta Invitational. He had the idea to do a swim meet as a fund raiser and it has been a huge success. Over the last three years we have had over 1,500 swimmers participate. Quite frankly, swimming at NAHS would not be where it is today without Jim.”
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.