~~Conroy anticipates strong year in athletics at Hilton Head Christian
By David Shelton
Hilton Head – The 2014-15 school year was a strong one for athletics at Hilton Head Christian Academy, particularly in the female sports arena.
Hilton Head Christian won SCISA state championships last year in girls’ basketball and girls’ soccer, while the volleyball team also was a state title contender before losing in the semi-final round.
Athletic director Kenny Conroy, who doubles as the girls’ basketball coach, expects another solid athletic year across the board, especially in the female sports.
“We had a lot of underclassmen athletes in our girls’ programs so we certainly should expect to be very competitive again,” said Conroy. “We’re on a good run of female athletes right now. Across the board it’s a group that works hard and loves to compete. We’re very fortunate in that area right now and hopefully we can continue to do well this year.”
Conroy had to make a few new hires within the coaching ranks for the coming year. One of those came in girls’ soccer. Coach Ben Gerdts announced shortly after the state championship that he would be leaving the school for a job in Texas.
Conroy did not have to look far to find the new coach as he announced that the Head of School Daniel Wesche would be taking over the program in 2016.
The biggest hire for Conroy, however, during the offseason came in football. Ryan Mitch left the school after two seasons as head coach. Again, Conroy looked inside first and found his man, naming defensive coordinator Matt Smith to the head coaching position.
Smith, also the school’s baseball coach, is a former head coach at Bible Baptist in Savannah where he compiled a 23-12 record in three seasons (2008-10). Conroy was the athletic director at Bible Baptist during that time and knows Smith is more than capable of being the head coach at Hilton Head Christian.
“He’s a good man and a good football coach,” said Conroy. “I’m very excited that we were able to hire him as our head coach. He will bring enthusiasm and stability to our program.”
Smith’s hiring as head coach left a void at defensive coordinator but that position was filled by Ron Peduzzi – the former head coach at rival Hilton Head Prep.
All of the other varsity head coaches are slated to return at Hilton Head Christian this year. Steve DeSimone returns as volleyball coach and Melanie Hilton will direct the swim program.
Parker Collins is the girls’ golf coach and James Berry coaches cross country. Eric Wammock is slated to return as the boys’ and girls’ tennis coach while Chris Crowe is the Clay Target shooting coach.
Doug Langhals directs the highly successful boys’ golf program during the spring and Dylan Curtis will return as the varsity boys’ soccer coach. Mac Tamminen will be back as the boys’ varsity basketball coach.