HS Basketball: Tamminen Leaving HHCA For JPII Boys Job

An established Lowcountry basketball coach is moving to a rival school next season.

John Paul II announced Tuesday the hire of Mac Tamminen as its new varsity boys’ basketball coach. Tamminen spent the past decade at Hilton Head Christian Academy, including the past six years as the Eagles’ varsity boys’ coach. Tamminen replaces Stacy Benedik, who resigned May 1 after four years at the school, citing health issues and a desire to spend more time with his young son. Tamminen also will serve as a teacher and assistant athletics director at JPII.

“We were so impressed with all of our candidates who interviewed, but I have long felt that Mac is one of the best role models for young men in this area,” JPII athletics director Matt Dakolios said. “Ultimately, my most important task is putting roles models in front of our student-athletes, and I am extremely excited for our boys who are about to be led by Coach Tamminen. His character and personality traits won us over, and his ability to instill work ethic, passion, and leadership in his players has been admirable. I am going to enjoy watching how our boys continue to grow under his leadership.”

Tamminen also was one of the candidates who didn’t mention his ability to “get kids in,” Dakolios said, noting JPII was looking for “a coach whose priority is working with the kids we have first and foremost, instead of hinting at potentially unethical recruiting.”

Tamminen’s young HHCA team finished the season strong this year, winning four of its last six games, including a 46-44 upset of JPII. The Eagles finished 7-13 overall and 6-8 in region play following a 2-10 start. The Eagles had only one senior and two juniors.

JPII is slated to return a talented roster led by second-team All-Lowco selections Rashad Battiste (17 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Amere Cherry (18 ppg, 7.0 rpg), as well as rising sophomore Sam Summa (5.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and a number of key role players off last year’s team that went 13-13 overall and 9-5 in region play.

“I’m extremely impressed with the administration and coaches at JPII and what they have established in such a short amount of time,” Tamminen said. “I am humbled and privileged to be a part of their family.”

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