After a successful coaching debut, Marcus Lattimore is getting a promotion.
The former South Carolina running back was named the Highlanders’ varsity football coach Monday. He replaces Steve Victory, who was 4-15 in his two seasons as coach. Victory is moving back to Louisiana to be closer to his family.
“I’m just over the moon. I’m happy and my family is happy,” Lattimore said. “Want to express my gratitude to (Head of School) Chris Hinchey and (athletics director) Jeff Whalen, who believed in me as a young coach with very little experience, but understand the game and understand you are only as good as your supporting cast.
“I am grateful for the opportunity. I love the people here, the guys on the team. We got a good group of guys on the team and we are going to hold them accountable and make sure they are playing for the front of their jersey. That is going to be our theme throughout the year, making sure the guy beside you is there at summer workouts so you can trust him in the fourth quarter.”
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Lattimore was the running backs coach on the varsity squad and head coach for Heathwood’s middle school team this past season. The middle school squad went 5-3 and defeated Hammond for the school’s first championship.
Lattimore said he was approached by some small colleges for running back coaching jobs and head coaching opportunities in South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, but felt Heathwood is “definitely the place where I should be.”
In addition to his coaching duties, Lattimore will be Heathwood’s School Advancement Associate. In this role, he will work with the athletics administration, admissions office and school development office . He will begin both roles on Jan. 16.
Lattimore was one of the most beloved players in USC history. He rushed for 2,677 yards and had 41 TDs in his career. His football career was cut short by a pair of knee injuries suffered at South Carolina. The San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but he never played. After retiring from football, he returned to USC and completed his degree.
He runs the Marcus Lattimore Foundation and conducts football camps throughout the state. He said that won’t change and he’ll get his coaches and players involved.
Heathwood hasn’t had a winning season since 2009 when it went to the SCISA 3A championship before losing to Hammond. Lattimore is confident he can win at Heathwood, and has some key guys coming back, including quarterback Duffy Beal and running back Brandon McCullough.
Lattimore has started filling out his coaching staff. He said Andrew Richardson, the school’s boys and girls’ soccer coach, will be his defensive coordinator and Jay Spearman will work with defensive backs, receivers and be the team’s strength and conditioning coach. Lattimore said two assistants on last year’s staff, John O’Cain and Brian White, would be asked to return.
Lattimore will be involved in the offensive play calling and in the running game, and coaching the offensive line. He wants to be multiple and “get creative” on offense.
“We want to compete. We aren’t coming into this thing as a rebuild,” Lattimore said. “I don’t promise a lot of things, but the guys that I hire and that are already here, we are going to put the players in a position to be successful. That is one thing I can promise to my team.”