HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER

Savitz officially leaves Irmo

ainelson@thestate.comFebruary 20, 2013 

The 2013 soccer season will be coach Phil Savitz’s last at Irmo.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Lexington 1 School District’s Board of Trustees approved the recommendation to hire Savitz as the first coach at the new River Bluff High, which opens in the fall.

Savitz confirmed Wednesday night that he had accepted the position.

“It’s a true leap of faith, and the decision was a very hard one,” said Savitz, who began his career at Irmo.

Savitz guided the Yellow Jackets to 617 wins, 13 state championships and more than 20 state final appearances.

“District 5 and Irmo have been my home for 33 years and I have absolutely loved it. And I would never have considered (leaving) if it weren’t for Luke Clamp and my friendship with and respect for him.”

Savitz said he established a connection with Clamp, River Bluff’s principal, years ago when Clamp was beginning his career as coach and educator at Irmo.

“He’s worked on me for a year and a half about this opportunity,” Savitz said.

Said Clamp: “There’s nothing that can compare to experience and success, and (coach Savitz) has created a formula for success for young men.

“You could not have asked for a finer man to coach the young men of this new program,” he said. “We are looking forward to working together.”

The Yellow Jackets begin their final season with Savitz in less than two weeks, and the coach says it will be bittersweet. He already has informed his players that this will be his final season but also assured them that he intends to leave on top.

“I’m excited about the things we can do at Irmo this season. I’m giving 100 percent to Irmo this season,” Savitz said. “When I hang up my cleats at Irmo, I’ll be giving 100 percent to River Bluff.”

Savitz was among five coaches whose hire the board approved for River Bluff on Tuesday. Also hired were Hank Deer, as girls basketball coach; Mike Armstrong, as strength and conditioning coach and assistant athletics director; and Gary Smallen, as assistant athletics director and assistant football coach.

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