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Carolina Academy High School
Lake City

Commitment to athletics remains strong at Carolina Academy

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Lake City – A lot goes into making a high school athletic department successful, both on and off the field.

Great athletes and players certainly help. Financial commitment to provide the best facilities goes a long way as well.

Perhaps, however, the biggest thing needed in order to succeed in athletics is a strong commitment from a school’s administration and coaching staff. Good people make a difference.

At Carolina Academy, the commitment of athletic director T.J. Joye and headmaster Stevie Phillips is a large part of the machine that drives Bobcat athletics.

Joye, a retired highway patrolman who is in the eighth year of his second stint as Carolina Academy’s football coach, took on the role of athletic director a few years ago and has burned both ends of the candle in his desire to give Carolina Academy athletes a competitive advantage.

“To be successful in these small private school settings, you have to have really good support and great help,” Joye said. “I am very fortunate here. The community and the people here at the school are very supportive of what we try to do. It’s a great situation here.”

Joye and Stuart Miles are the only full-time paid members of the athletic department. Miles serves as Joye’s right-hand man and is the offensive coordinator in football while also heading up the strength program for all sports. He came to Carolina Academy eight years ago and is a Lake City High graduate.

“He’s an unbelievable person and a great help to me,” Joye said. “He loves the kids and he works as hard as anyone around here.”

Loving the kids is a common theme on Carolina Academy’s campus. Joye feels fortunate to have a coaching staff across the board that cares about the students at Carolina. It all starts at the top with headmaster Stevie Phillips, who won 10 state championships as a track coach at Johnsonville High. He started the track and field program at Carolina two years ago.

The relationship between Joye and Phillips goes back several decades.

“We grew up together and I feel like I know Stevie as well as anyone,” Joye said. “He’s a great person and he puts kids first. He’s done a tremendous job of growing the school’s enrollment and we work very well together when it comes to giving our kids the very best. We’re up around 400 students now and the growth is due to Stevie and his vision for our school.”

Joye and other members of the coaching staff and community have been busy upgrading the athletic facilities over the last few years. Recent projects that have been completed include new dugouts at the baseball field and a new 3,200-square foot fieldhouse, which houses lockers and equipment for football, baseball and softball.

“It’s a great thing, a great building for our kids,” Joye said. “It’s going to be a nice place for the athletes and we have worked our tails off to get it done. I think everyone will be really proud of it.”

During the summer, Joye spends most of his time on the lawnmowers, cutting all of the grass on campus as well as the football field. He usually arrives before 6 a.m. and doesn’t leave the school until dark, after the football team’s lifting sessions in the evening.

But you will never hear Joye complain about the long hours.

“Hard to get anything accomplished sitting around,” Joye says. “Always something that can be done. I came here and we needed to get a lot of things done for these kids. We’re making some headway and it’s been fun to be involved in.”

 

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