By Justin Jarrett
A year ago, Beaufort High School football fans were celebrating the big-splash hire that was going to propel their program to greater heights for years to come.
Now they’re wondering who the school will hire next.
DeVonte Holloman’s abrupt departure after one year as the Eagles’ head coach has sent shockwaves through the fanbase and players, who understandably feel burned.
After all, legendary coach Mark Clifford was nudged into retirement — and promptly went around the corner to Beaufort Academy and won a SCISA 8-Man state championship — so Beaufort High could lock up Holloman as a head coach before someone else did.
It seemed like the perfect hire: Holloman was a young, rising star as a coach, and he was a household name among Beaufort High’s players, who grew up watching him star for the South Carolina Gamecocks. And even though the Eagles were seemingly punching above their weight in making a hire that some of the state’s highest-profile programs might envy, Holloman’s wife is from Beaufort, so there was reason to believe they would be here for the long haul.
But life happens.
Holloman’s younger sister passed away in October, and the coach felt compelled to look for opportunities closer to home, where he could support his grieving parents.
When he put himself out there, he found a surprisingly robust job market in his hometown of Rock Hill — often nicknamed Football City, U.S.A. — including a head coach opening at his alma mater, perennial powerhouse South Pointe High School.
Very few coaches with one year of head coaching experience would even be considered for such a job, but this is DeVonte Holloman — the hometown hero who went on to star for the Gamecocks and was on his way to an impressive NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys before injury cut his career short.
So when South Pointe called, he had to listen.
Turns out the administration at South Pointe was impressed by the same qualities that made him a hot commodity at Beaufort High — in his introductory press conference he was labeled as a “player’s coach” who can relate to student-athletes on and off the field.
It’s worth wondering whether Beaufort High will try to lure another young coach who fits that mold or opt for a safer choice in hopes of finding long-term stability. Regardless, it’s an attractive job that will draw strong candidates, and if the school makes the right hire, the Eagles will soar again.
Under different circumstances, DeVonte Holloman might have spent his entire coaching career at Beaufort High — and who knows, maybe he will be back
Family comes first. In fact, if a high school coach prioritizes football over his own family, that’s not the kind of man we need to put forward as a role model for our youth.