Reggie Kennedy was officially hired as athletics director and football coach at Irmo on May 19, and since that time, he’s barely had time to get acquainted with his new surroundings, team and coaching staff.
Kennedy had to finish the school year in Sumter, where he coached for one season. He guided the Gamecocks to a 9-6 record and a runner-up finish for the Class 4A, Division I state championship, where the Gamecocks lost to Dutch Fork.
The hire was made official by the Lexington/Richland 5 School Board on a Monday night, and Irmo closed spring practice that Wednesday. As athletics director with Sumter, Kennedy finished the school year and was on hand for the Gamecocks’ run to a Class 4A baseball title. That left little time for his new coaching stop. In fact, he had his first team meeting with the players and their parents a little more than a week ago.
That makes this summer important for Kennedy.
“The summer will be like spring football for me and the kids,” Kennedy said. “It’s a new system, I have to learn the kids, and the coaching staff will have to learn each other, too. I brought in some guys from different places, so it’s going to be a learning curve this summer, including for coaches.”
Kennedy replaces Bob Hanna, who retired in April.
There has been attrition in the Irmo coaching staff in the past month. Kennedy had to find able assistants to replace coaches Rob Hardy, Ryan Kendall and Justin Farmer, all of whom have taken other opportunities in the past month. He has hired J.W. Montgomery, Kelly Craig and Richard Holmes to round out the Irmo staff.
This is the third school for Kennedy in as many years. He began his coaching career in 1995 at Kingstree. He spent seven years on that job before moving to Fairfield Central in 2002. He was head coach for the Griffins four seasons before departing to take the Orangeburg-Wilkinson job.
He returned to Winnsboro in 2008 for a second stint at Fairfield Central. He guided the Griffins to a 29-8 record over three years before taking the Blythewood job in 2011. In two seasons with the Bengals, Kennedy had a 16-10 record before his one season at Sumter. In 19 seasons as a coach, Kennedy has a 140-87 overall record.
After all the travelling over the course of his career, he hopes he’s found a permanent situation with Irmo. In his one season with Sumter, he commuted back and forth from his Columbia home. Kennedy believes a return to the Midlands at what he considers one of the best schools in the state is the move he’s been searching for.
“Irmo has a lot of tradition,” Kennedy said. “It’s a program that I’ve coached against over the last 10 years, and I know coach Hanna personally so I’ve always been impressed with his teams. They were always well-disciplined with no problems. It’s one of the most attractive job in the Midlands, even the state.”
“I’m in this for the long haul. This is sort of my destiny job.”
He replaces Reuben Eargle, who retires at the end of the year after coaching Gilbert for 24 seasons.
Corley, who had served as assistant softball coach and an assistant football coach at Gilbert, has more than 20 years of coaching experience in basketball, football and softball.