Kevin Heise thought about going to an established soccer program when it was apparent his days of coaching at Brookland-Cayce were done.
But Heise was intrigued by the possibility of building a program from the ground up, which was one of the reasons he and his wife Emily ended up at Gray Collegiate. They were introduced as Gray’s new boys and girls soccer coaches at a news conference Tuesday.
“Other positions I could have pursued were attractive from a soccer standpoint and teaching,” Kevin Heise said. “None had the opportunity that Gray afforded as far as building it basically from scratch. My predecessors have laid a good foundation.
“This is a chance for us to take it to new heights. I knew I could go certain places and win 20 to 25 games and be in contention for the state title. But at a lot of those places, it has already been done. It has never been done here.”
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Gray Collegiate competes in Class 2A and is in its third year of existence. Both War Eagle soccer teams made the playoffs this season, their first of eligibility in the South Carolina High School League.
“We want to win now. We don’t want this to be a three or four year project,” Heise said. “We want to get kids in and invest in them right now, starting with our summer programs. There is no secret to high school athletics. You’ve got to put in the time and prepare.”
Heise resigned from B-C last month after a lengthy battle stemming from in-class incident. He was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 10 and held out hope for a couple weeks that he would be reinstated.
But when it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, he looked for his next landing spot. Talks between Heise and Gray Collegiate began last month. Gray Collegiate administration said there were no reservations about hiring Heise.
Gray Collegiate director of operations Todd Helms was a former board member on Lexington 2 school district, worked at Brookland-Cayce. He said Heise’s track record, on and off the field, speaks for itself.
Heise won 454 games, 15 region titles and was named South Carolina coach of the year twice.
Gray Collegiate is in the same Lexington 2 School District as B-C, so if players follow their former coaches they wouldn’t have to move outside the school district. Some have expressed interest and visited Gray.
Emily Heise still has some unfinished business at her old job. The Bearcats will play for the Class 3A championship on Saturday against Indian Land. Brookland-Cayce is looking for its first title since 2005, when Heise played for B-C.
Heise said she told her team she would be leaving after Monday’s win over Bishop England.
“I am going to put my heart and soul into winning that game on Saturday,” she said.