It’s not every day a bona fide coaching legend walks into a school and asks for a job. At least, not in Jimmy Fletcher’s world.
Yet, a few months back, there was Bob Hanna inquiring about the football coaching vacancy at West Brunswick High.
“It was definitely a shock,” Fletcher, the school’s athletics director, joked.
Hanna, the longtime coach and athletics director at Irmo High, retired from those roles in late June after 20 years at the school. He guided the Yellow Jackets to a 163-93 record with trips to the state’s Class 4A football championship game in 2002, 2004 and 2006. They finished runner-up all three times.
Hanna was looking for a job. Specifically, one as a football coach.
“I never did feel like walking away from football,” Hanna said. “I was athletic director and football coach at Irmo, and athletic director is an all-day and all-night job year-round. I didn’t want to be AD. I have no desire to do that again.”
Retirement was short-lived for the Pennsylvania native, who left Columbia for a house in North Myrtle Beach. He heard about the opening in Shallotte and couldn’t resist applying.
Scott Frazier resigned in May at West Brunswick after one season. That left the Trojans without a football coach at a difficult period of time. Fletcher was relieved when Hanna walked through the door.
“The situation we were in, you didn’t want to give a job to somebody that hadn’t been a head coach. He knew what was going on. I think the experience and all the things he’s done in the past, all the success he’s had in the past, just made him a great fit for us,” Fletcher said. “If you can hire somebody like that, that’s a no-brainer.”
Hanna has been at the school, doing offseason work with his new players. He pieced together a coaching staff as best he could. T.J. Spivey, who also was announced Tuesday as the school’s new baseball coach, will serve as defensive coordinator.
While he might have a storied history as a coach, Hanna says he doesn’t have anything “in my pocket that I can sprinkle on them and make them a good football team.” Even so, he’s still optimistic that progress will happen, even in a short period of time.
“There’s some good kids there. They’ve got a long way to go,” Hanna said. “We’re not very strong right now. I can’t do that in a month, but these kids are eager to learn.”