Chester schools football coach let go to cut costs

ROCK HILL -- Floyd Drum has been told he will no longer be the football coach and athletics director at Lewisville High School to save money as part of the Chester school district's effort to cut its budget nearly $200,000.

Drum said late Monday night he got a hand-delivered letter from a district representative last Friday notifying him that Feb. 13 would be his final day at the school and in the district.

"It basically said that since I was retired and still working in the district that I'd no longer be employed in two weeks," Drum said. "It said I'd be terminated in two weeks because the district was releasing retirees to help with budget cuts.

"I can't say how long I was going to stay, but I wanted to leave coaching on my own terms. I had hoped that when that day came, I could stay on at Lewisville as the AD only. After 40 years in the business and the last 22 at Lewisville, this is like leaving my family."

Drum came to Lewisville from Lancaster to work for former football coach and AD Bennie McMurray. When McMurray retired and left to coach in Charlotte, Kim Gray was promoted to head football coach.

Drum, who also coached winning teams in softball and girls basketball at Lewisville, was named head football coach when Gray stepped down five years ago.

During that span, Drum has won three Region 3-A titles and was third this season. Drum had a 35-22 record. He coached in South Carolina's two all-star games, the Shrine Bowl and the North-South.

Dr. James Knox, Lewisville's principal, said the move was a district decision that will affect retired teachers still working within the district.

"Everything we are doing now is stopgap while trying to get through the school year in troubled financial times," Knox said. "It's a process the district put in, and I understand it's the same at all of our schools in Lewisville, Great Falls and Chester. And there are others who have been affected by this decision."

Also being discussed by the district is the possibility of merging the high school and middle school in Great Falls with those in Lewisville. Knox said until the district decides if that will or will not happen by the next school year, he will not be assigning any coaches to fill vacancies.

Knox added that Rusty Pemberton, an assistant football coach under Drum, will serve as interim athletics director to help the school get through the remainder of the year.

Drum has not decided if he'll seek another coaching job. He said the one at Lewisville was so special that every morning when he drove to work from Lancaster it didn't feel like he was going to a job.

Drum and his wife, Sandra, were fixtures at Lewisville. They went into communities around the school and raised money to feed the athletes and purchase needs not included in the athletic budget.

"My wife is as upset about this as I am, maybe more," Drum said. "It will be very different for us because of the time we put in at the school. Like I said, everyone there was like our family.

"I was blessed to have worked there. It's a wonderful place with wonderful people. The support we got, we couldn't have asked for more."

-- The (Rock Hill) Herald