High School Sports

Leaphart takes football reins at Swansea

Swansea High has hired Chad Leaphart as its new football coach, while Dreher and Lower Richland could have coaches in place by the end of the month.

Sources close to the situation say Dreher will hire Josh Stepp, the offensive coordinator at Spring Valley, and that Lower Richland will hire Wayne Farmer, the coach at Allendale-Fairfax.

Karen York, Director of Communications for Richland District One, said in an e-mail that neither position has been hired and would not comment on the search. She said the agenda for the next board meeting on Feb. 23 has not been set.

Stepp, a former Pelion and Newberry College standout, is in line to replace Bill Bacon at Dreher. Farmer would take over for J.W. Montgomery at Lower Richland.

Lexington District Four approved Leaphart earlier this week. Leaphart played at Gilbert and Newberry College, and has spent the past 10 years as an assistant at Strom Thurmond.

Leaphart is looking to return Swansea's program to the success they enjoyed in the mid-1990's when the Tigers won three consecutive Class 2A state championships.

"From going up in the area and competing against Swansea in high school, I know the tradition there and winning games and championships are a part of that," said Leaphart, who also has been an assistant at Pelion. "I know they have been down for a few years, but I know the tradition is there so it is something to build around."

The Rebels have won five region championships and the 2005 Class 3A state title with Leaphart as an assistant. Leaphart served as offensive coordinator last season after being the defensive coordinator the previous two years.

"That gives me prospective from both sides of the ball and I don't know, but maybe not all head coaches have that experience," Leaphart said. "I'm excited and looking forward to returning to Swansea to the program it used to be."

Swansea hired Leaphart to replace Van Lewis, who went 5-25 in three seasons that included a 15-game losing streak and a winless season in 2008.