JPII’s Dakolios Stepping Down, Tamminen Promoted To AD

John Paul II Catholic School will have a new director of athletics this fall for the second time in the school’s brief history — and a new boys soccer coach for the first time.

Matt Dakolios, the school’s head boys soccer coach since the program’s inception in 2014 and athletics director since 2015, announced Wednesday he is stepping down to take a teaching and coaching position in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mac Tamminen, who just completed his first year as the school’s varsity boys basketball coach and assistant athletics director, will be promoted to take Dakolios’ place. 

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Dakolios and his wife, Tara McKnight Dakolios. Tara played basketball at the University of Virginia after a standout career at Hilton Head Prep, and the couple met while both were attending graduate school UVA.

“JPII has been so good to us, and I’ve never been so happy with a school faculty, community, and group of students and soccer players,” Dakolios said. “With that said, we have always wanted to ‘go home’ to Charlottesville; we just didn’t know when that time would be.” 

The opportunity came at The Covenant School in Charlottesville, where Dakolios will teach math, oversee student activities and discipline, serve as the head strength coach, and coach other sports as needed.

The move comes just as the school made two key coaching hires, promoting junior varsity coach Stephen Gaylets to take over the varsity baseball program following Pete Birmingham’s retirement and hiring Chris Myers to replace departed head football coach Kevin Wald. Myers will also take on the assistant athletics director role vacated by Tamminen. 

“The hardest choices in life involve choosing between right and right,” Dakolios said. “What gives me some peace is knowing that JPII is in a stronger position than it has ever been. … If you know Mac, and once you get to know Chris, you’ll quickly realize that JPII Athletics will be stronger moving forward.”

Dakolios has one more opening to fill, though — the one he has been the only coach to hold. He plans to work with Tamminen to find the school’s next boys soccer coach before his departure.

Dakolios has been a staple on the Lowcountry sports scene since 2011, when he took over the boys soccer program at Hilton Head Prep, a position he held for three years before leaving to build the soccer program and become dean of students at JPII. He moved into the athletics director role a year later. 

“Matt has been a vital member of our community,” JPII assistant principal Heather Rembold said in an email. “We are sad to see him and his family go, but excited for the opportunities for them that lie ahead.”

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