Wando gearing up for another solid year in athletics
By David Shelton
Mt. Pleasant – Wando High athletic director Bob Hayes has his hands full, overseeing the athletic teams at the state’s largest high school.
Making his job easier is a slate of quality coaches on staff that can make the most of their resources and compete at a very high level.
This past summer, Hayes had to hire only one new varsity coach – swim coach Cheryl Durden.
“We had to fill a lot of spots as far as assistant coaches and lower level coaches but our varsity staff remained pretty much intact, which has been the case for a few years now,” said Hayes, the school’s former head football coach. “We did bring in some help in a few sports but we feel like we have a very good varsity coaching staff in place. Our teams, across the board, compete at a very high level. We had a really good year this past year and we expect more of the same in the coming school year.”
With the fall sports campaign right around the corner, expect Wando to again contend for state championships in several sports. While football tends to get most of the attention, Wando’s volleyball program continues to rate as one of the top programs in the state.
Heading up the volleyball program is Wando’s “Dean” of coaches, Alexis Glover. Glover is the longest tenured coach in the athletic department. She came to Wando in 1986 and is the state’s all-time leader in career victories with 788 wins. She will surely eclipse the 800-win plateau in the 2014 season.
Glover is a member of the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She led Wando to the 1993 Class AAAA state title and has captured six other lower state championships, including last season when Wando lost in the state finals to Hillcrest. Wando has captured 23 region titles under Glover’s guidance and she is a 20-time honoree as the region coach of the year.
Wando’s boys’ basketball program will enter the new school year as the reigning Class AAAA state champions. Coach David Eaton will return a solid cast again this winter and will start the season as the top-ranked team in AAAA.
In the spring, Wando is a perennial state title contender in track and field, boys and girls soccer, baseball and lacrosse.
Last spring, Wando’s baseball team, coached by Dirk Thomas, reached the final four of the lower state, as did Steve Legette’s softball program.
Wando’s girls’ soccer team won its second straight AAAA state title last spring. Coach Shannon Champ has led Wando to six state championships in her 10 seasons as coach.
Wando’s boys’ soccer team, coached by Shilo Tisdale, won its second title in four seasons this past spring and will be a major contender in 2015.
The boys and girls lacrosse teams reached the state finals last April, and the boys’ and girls’ track teams were each state runner-ups in May. Kevin Shiver heads up the track and field program. Lance Renes is the boys’ lacrosse coach while Jessica Stralkowski is the girls’ lacrosse coach.
Jimmy Noonan returns as the head football coach this fall and has a pair of all-state candidates in running back Kenny Waring and linebacker Tyler Ragsdale.
Jason Brisini returns as the girls’ golf coach while Jerry Lloyd is the boys’ golf coach. Mickey Hunter returns to coach girls’ basketball and Adam Schneider will again coach wrestling. Winde Ellenburg is the boys’ tennis coach while Leigha Jakious is the girls’ tennis coach.
Marie Domin is back to coach girls’ cross country but is on maternity leave while Brett Davis heads up the boys’ cross country program.
Veteran Mark Buchman returns as assistant athletic director and head trainer.