FOOTBALL

Former Lexington coach Earley takes over at Westside

Anderson Independent MailJanuary 23, 2014 

— Scott Earley’s track record when it comes to winning speaks for itself. Everywhere he’s been — from Myrtle Beach to Chapin to Lexington — he has won, 109 games in 12 years to be exact.

However, anyone looking to hire Earley has seen his propensity not to stay anywhere for too long since his nine-year stint at the beach.

After being hired as Westside’s new football coach Tuesday night, he is at his sixth job in as many years.

So it was fair to ask whether Earley, who met the community at news conference at the District 5 offices Wednesday, planned to set down some roots in Anderson. And Earley was prepared for the question.

His abrupt resignation at Lexington after three years is well-documented.

As was his weeklong tour at Seminole High in Sanford, Fla., where he resigned due to contractual issues involving insurance for his family.

“I hope when someone bumps into me at the airport 20 years from now, I can tell them I’m from Anderson, South Carolina, and head coach at Westside High School,” Earley said. “If you look at my track record, we’ve always worked to get back here (Earley was a finalist for the T.L. Hanna job in 2008). To me, this is God’s country, and this is where I want me, my wife and my two boys to be.”

If he delivers the type of results he did at his previous stops, Westside could build 20-foot walls and a moat around the school to keep him there. Since 2007, the program has suffered through two 4-win, one 2-win and two 1-win seasons as well as a winless campaign.

The first thing Earley will be charged with is changing the low morale and the belief system that has surrounded the Rams. He considers that half the battle.

Myrtle Beach, under Earley, saw a gradual climb to the top. The team won eight games or more four out of his first six seasons before ascending to double-digit wins in 2006 through 2008 and a Class 3A state title in 2008.

To most, Westside’s second state crown — the first came in 1969 — is a long way off. So Earley isn’t under a ton of pressure to get there right away.

“What I’ve always done is used football as a vehicle to help young people,” Earley said. “I’ve never really been a destination guy — a region title, a state championship. I’ve never been worried about that. I’ve always just tried to enjoy the journey. We’re not going to worry about what people are saying. We need to worry about ourselves.”

Toward the end of the news conference, however, his winner’s mentality kicked in.

“I want Westside to be on the map,” he said, “and we’re going to try to get them there in a hurry.”

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