COLUMBIA, SC — A month from the start of his first season in SCISA Class 3A football, Ben Lippen coach Jolly Doolittle has plenty of reasons to rejoice.
“It’s a bigger mission field,” said Doolittle, who spent the past 10 seasons at W.W. King, leading the school’s athletics department and football team. As much as for his competitive fire, it is Doolittle’s passion for Christian outreach that makes him suited to his new position at the 800-student school.
“Having known Jolly Doolittle for many years, I have had the opportunity to see his heart for his athletes and abilities as a coach,” athletics director Ben Porter said. “I am confident that his approach to coaching and teaching our student-athletes will be a tremendous fit for our mission at Ben Lippen.”
Doolittle said upholding the school’s mission statement off the field is his main priority.
“I don’t know what the outcome of all the games is going to be, and certainly we’re going to try to win as many games as we can. But, utmost, I want to develop Christian young men. That’s what gets me up and to work in the morning,” Doolittle said.
As for the mission to win games, Doolittle is aware the Falcons are facing an uphill battle.
“The biggest difference for me is, (Class) 3A from top to bottom is made up of very well-coached programs. It’s tough to win in this league and every week it’s going to be tough,” Doolittle said. “I don’t see any teams that are getting worse. They’re all getting better and that’s challenge — a fun challenge — that I look forward to taking on.”
Doolittle is eager for the chance to plant roots at Ben Lippen. Former coach Reggie Shaw and his staff left the Falcons in a good position, he said.
“The kids know football, they work hard and they are a pleasure to coach, so I know coach Shaw and his staff did things the right way. We will do things a little bit differently, and we have a ways to go before I put my stamp on things,” Doolittle said.
At W.W. King, Doolittle tested his mettle in SCISA’s 8-man football league. At the smaller school, Doolittle said developing talent and depth were crucial.
At Ben Lippen, his ability to do so may be an advantage as the Falcons look for their first winning season since 2010.