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Bishop England High School
Daniel Island

Runey the major constant in Bishop England athletics

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Daniel IslandBishop England athletic director Paul Runey has never known anything other than Bishops athletics.  The veteran is beginning his 45th year at the school, having played there before spending four decades as a coach in some capacity.

After graduating from Bishop England, Runey ultimately decided on attending the College of Charleston.  Before he could even start school, Jack Cantey, his previous football coach, asked if he would help with the team.

“It was perfect.  Here I was, just graduated from Bishop England, and Coach Cantey asked me to come help.  I jumped at it and thought it was fantastic.  It made me grow up a little faster.  As soon as I finished jayvee practice, I’d go to the varsity practice.  He let me coach, and that was the beauty of being with him for all those years.  He treated you like a co-head coach,” Runey said.

Runey eventually earned his degree and went on to become the team’s defensive coordinator for 20 seasons.  He was head coach for five years after Cantey retired, and throughout the years, he also helped with baseball, boys’ tennis, wrestling and boys’ basketball.

However, most outside of the Bishop England circle may know him best for his success with the girls’ basketball team.  Prior to the 2017-18 season, the Lady Bishops had played for six consecutive state championships, winning five.

Runey has seen it all during his time at the private Catholic school, most notably the campus moving from downtown Charleston to Daniel Island and the development of facilities.

“When we were downtown, the only real facility we had was our gym and two tennis courts.  Everything else, we had to travel to.  We practiced on every playground and open lot downtown.  The majority of our games we played at the other team’s place.  The greatest change is that we have all the facilities now – baseball field, softball field, football field, track – and now we just completed five tennis courts,” Runey said.

The one constant through everything has been the success of all the athletic programs.  Bishop England is a perennial contender in nearly every sport, with more than 100 state championships combined across the board.  However, it would not have been possible without the dedication of so many coaches.

“We’ve never had a large in-house staff.  Bishop England has survived over the years mainly on volunteers.  Even today, we barely have 12 in-house coaches and over 50 volunteer coaches.  Most of them have ties to the school, whether they were alumni or their kids went there,” Runey said.

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