Thursday, March 27, 2014
North Augusta High School’s search for its next head football coach is down to three finalists.
The position has been vacant for a little more than a month, as longtime head coach and athletic director Dan Pippin was named the head coach at Greenwood High School on Feb. 17.
According to sources close to the situation, the school interviewed more than 20 candidates for the opening. The list has been whittled down to current defensive coordinator and head softball coach Derrick Quinn, current Westside (Ga.) head coach Steve Hibbitts and Northern Guilford (N.C.) head coach Brian Thomas.
Quinn was the architect of one of the best defenses in South Carolina, as the Yellow Jackets were No. 1 in fewest points allowed before the season-ending loss to Northwestern in the Class AAAA semifinals. Though he lacks head football coaching experience, he’s the most familiar with the team’s current makeup.
Hibbitts also has ties to North Augusta. He was the team’s defensive coordinator before leaving for Westside, where he’s been the head coach since 2010. In four seasons, Hibbitts’ teams have a 13-29 record, although that number was hurt after forfeiting four wins last season because of the use of an ineligible player. Hibbitts is quoted as saying the issue was the result of missing something on the paperwork of a transfer, who was ultimately cleared to play.
The wild card in the North Augusta search comes in the form of Thomas, who has only been the head coach at Northern Guilford for one season. Thomas followed head coach Johnny Roscoe, who won three straight NCHSAA Division 3AA championships.
In his first season as head coach, Thomas led the Nighthawks to a 12-3 record, which included a 23-17 loss to Crest in the state championship game. The team’s other two losses were the result of forfeits because of the use of ineligible players.
There’s a chance that the hire will be announced at the next Aiken County School Board meeting, which is on Tuesday night, but it currently doesn’t appear on the agenda. Whoever is hired will have big shoes to fill as they try to replace Pippin. In eight seasons, Pippin led the Yellow Jackets to a 70-33 overall record and seven playoff appearances.