Listen in as Eric Pack leads Swansea High at first 2018 practice
Swansea hired one of its own as the school’s next football coach.
Brent Wilder was named the Tigers’ new coach Thursday. He replaces Greg Wright, who was fired before the start of the season. Eric Pack was the interim coach last year.
“I’m very humbled,” Wilder said. “Serving as head football coach at Swansea High School is a dream come true and I cannot wait to get started. I look forward to serving our players, students, school, and community in the years to come.
“Anywhere that has won previously, you can win again there. They have a winning culture and I hope I can continue to foster that.”
Wilder is a 1998 graduate of Swansea and was an offensive lineman under Robert Maddox, who won three straight state championships from 1993-95 and will take over as Lexington Four superintendent next year.
Wilder began his coaching career at Swansea as an assistant in 2003. He spent the past four seasons at Saluda as offensive coordinator and assistant athletic director. Before that, the South Carolina grad was an assistant and head baseball coach at Strom Thurmond.
Wilder will remain at Saluda for the rest of the school year but will conduct spring practice at Swansea. He plans to meet his new players next week.
“I’m getting a chance to return home but Saluda has turned into a home for me and I made lasting friendships with the players and coaches there,” Wilder said.
This season, Saluda’s offense set records for passing yards (2,866) and touchdowns (35). The Tigers made it to the third round of the playoffs. In 2015, Saluda’s offense set school marks for most rushing yards with 2,132, rushing touchdowns (34) and points per game.
“We are going to be fast-paced and field a high-octane offense,” Wilder said.
Swansea went 3-8 this season but finished the year strong. The Tigers started 0-7 but won their final two regular season games and defeated Manning in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs before losing to state runner-up Dillon. It was the school’s first playoff victory since 2014.
The Tigers will graduate two of their top players — Clemson signee Greg Williams and quarterback Keenan Coats.
Swansea is one of the two Midlands openings this year. Richland Northeast is the other but is getting close to naming its new coach.