As Dru Nix began clearing out her desk, the memories started piling up.
Nix has amassed many during her 21 years working for the South Carolina High School League. Nix is stepping down from a full-time capacity as associate commissioner with the SCHSL with her last official duties coming last week.
“It has been an amazing ride,” Nix said. “The opportunities I have been afforded to work with people in this state and across the country for developing programs and the betterment of high school athletics has been incredible. It is a lot of work but it is an enormous amount of pleasure to go along with it.”
Nix plans to stay busy during her retirement and work a couple days of week handling the SCHSL’s finances. She also plans to watch her sons play high school sports, do more hunting and golfing and also spend time with her mother in Aiken.
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Nix also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to coaching.
A self-proclaimed sports junkie growing up, Nix was an accomplished athlete at Aiken High and went on to play two sports at USC Aiken. She was an MVP for the volleyball and basketball teams and was part of the school’s second hall of fame class in 2009.
After graduation, Nix had a short stint as USC Aiken’s volleyball and basketball coach, leading the teams to district titles. But the year-round recruiting grind wasn’t for her and she stepped down.
Nix spent 12 years at Silver Bluff High and coached volleyball, basketball, golf and softball and earned several region coach of the year honors. She also served as the school’s athletics director before leaving for the SCHSL in 1995.
“When I was able to serve as athletics director, I found and loved the administrative side of athletics,” Nix said. “I wasn’t looking to change jobs but I received a call from a woman that I consider to be the founding mothers of female sports in South Carolina two days before the deadline. I didn’t know much about the job and didn’t consider applying. After that conversation, I talked to my husband and said let’s just apply for it and see what happens.
“It has been fantastic. It has been everything I thought it would be and a whole lot more.”
At the SCHSL, Nix has been responsible for dealing with boys and girls golf, competitive cheer, volleyball, softball and boys tennis. She also has served on National High School Federation’s volleyball and cheer committees and is the South Carolina female recipient of the NFHS Citation.
Six sports, including competitive cheer and girls’ golf, were added since taking over the job. The trophy for the North-South Girls Golf All-Stars matches were named for her.
Nix said watching the rise of girls sports around the state has been great. She attributes the success of women’s performances in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with helping to kick start girls athletic programs around the state.
“When the women won gold in softball and soccer, the next two or three years we saw our numbers really increase in those programs,” Nix said. “We always had varsity programs but we added JV and B Team programs. It is wonderful. TV coverage and social media for girls also has helped broaden our programs.”
Nix has witnessed many record-setting performances and accomplishments. Her favorite memory came in 1997, when South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind’s Sonia Bell became the first blind athlete to compete in the state track meet.
“What’s better than watching people express themselves though sports, and I have been privileged to have the best seat for the past 21 years,” Nix said.