SUMTER — Reggie Kennedy has been through more than his fair share of opening days of spring football practice as a player at East Clarendon High and S.C. State and almost 20 years as a high school head coach.
Wednesday's first practice of the spring wasn't quite a run-of-a-milll opener for Kennedy, though. It was his first as the coach at Sumter High.
“This time of the year is always a favorite time of the year and one I look forward to,” Kennedy said. “This is important as we're trying to get the coaches and the players used to the faster pace.”
Kennedy was named SHS's new coach in January, replacing Paul Sorrells, who resigned following Sumter's 4-7 2012 season.
He was impressed with how his players handled the practice.
“We worked at the fast pace and it went really well,” said Kennedy, who came to Sumter from Blythewood. “The players caught on to a lot of our terminology and what we are trying to do. We've still got a lot of work to do, but we had a good start today.”
It was the first of 12 practices for the Gamecocks, culminating with a spring game.
“We're spending more time on getting things in place and teaching than we normally would,” the 44-year-old Kennedy said.
Kennedy owns a career record of 131-81 and led Blythewood to a 9-3 mark this past season. Along with Blythewood, Kennedy had two stints at Fairfield Central as well as time at Orangeburg-Wilkinson and Kingstree. He's won seven region titles, had three seasons of 10 wins or more and reached a state playoffs semifinal game on two occasions.
He was also the coach of the 2007 South Carolina Shrine Bowl team.