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Dillon High School

Hayes Enters 27th Season In Dillon Still Excited About Coming To Work Each Day

By Billy G. Baker


Dillon—Stability, consistent success, and longevity have been corner stones in the 34 year coaching career of Dillon athletic director and head football coach Jackie Hayes who enters the 2018 season with a career coaching record of 306-52, including winning five state titles in the past six seasons.

All of his 306 wins, in just 26 seasons, have come on the sidelines of Dillon, his alma mater.

“I enjoy handling all the outside things that my coaching staff might not like to do and I just let them be coaches with total input on their positions, if it is football, or if they are head coaches they have total input into their programs,” said Coach Hayes. “I just try to stay out of their way unless they have a problem. We all get along very well. We communicate and we are all loyal to the cause.”

Dillon will have new head varsity coaches in two sports at the start of the 2018-19 school year in August. Former Lake View star and Dillon softball assistant Chessie Miller will take over as the head varsity softball that had been under the tutelage of Kelvin Roller. Also Brian Grice will take over the varsity boy’s program that had been directed by Lee Page the past two seasons.

The baseball program will continue to be led by veteran Greg Dozier. The girl’s team will once again be coached by James McMillan. Shirl Carter returns as the head volleyball coach and she has been in a program for at least 20 years. The longest serving head coach at Dillon is 45-plus year veteran Jason Gunter who is the boys head track coach and he also works as an assistant principal. The girl’s track program will once again be led by Tony Washington.

No doubt Dillon has one of the best football coaching staffs in South Carolina, at both the varsity and junior varsity level.

“We have had a lot of continuity with our coaching staff and the kids having the same coaches teaching them every day and from year-to-year are a big plus,” said Coach Hayes. “I think the repetition of doing fundamentals and drills every single day with the same coach is very beneficial.”

Several of the coaches at Dillon played for the Wildcats like defensive coordinator Marty McIntyre who also coaches the linebackers in the Nasty Cat’s 3-4 scheme. McIntyre graduated from Dillon in the mid-1980’s. “We give our coaches total responsibility for coaching their positions and Marty does a tremendous job coordinating our defense and coaching up our linebacking group,” said Coach Hayes. “He, like Coach Roller on offense, has total control of what we do on their side of the football. This situation makes both our coordinators comfortable. They know what the expectations are.

“We are always adjusting to the personnel we have from season to season,” said Coach Hayes. “A 3-4 scheme on defense gives us a lot of flexibility.”

Chris Ray is starting his 5th year as the defensive line coach. Splinter Spivey returns as the free safeties coach and Lee Page will once again skill the corner backs. Coach Hayes also works with the special teams.

Former player Zach Hayes is the running backs coach and assistant athletic director at the school. “Zach understands what we are doing and he grew up in the program and he and Coach Roller work very well together,” said Coach Hayes. “Zach has many roles. He also takes care of all of the equipment and he takes care of all of the practice fields. He helps keep us organized on a daily basis.”

Another former Wildcat is receivers coach Alan McLaurin who is starting his 27th season at his alma mater. “He’s been with me since day one as both a player and a coach,” said Coach Hayes. “He and Coach (Jason) Gunter are the only two who have been with me throughout my career at Dillon.” Gunter, nearing 50 years in coaching, helps out with the offensive line.

Offensive coordinator Kelvin Roller is getting ready to start his 8th season working with the Wildcat quarterbacks and running the offense. Coach Roller actually agreed to assume the head football job at Georgetown High in mid-may but decided to return to Dillon only after a day or two on the job. “Coach Roller felt like he needed to stay at Dillon and finish the job he has started and while we wished him well we were also happy to see him come back. He is a big asset to our program,” said Coach Hayes.

Norman Quick, formerly of Crest and Scotland County High in North Carolina, begins his third season as the offensive line coach. “I think he does an outstanding job with the front people and he has taken us to another level fundamentally and he is very experienced in the area of player development,” said Coach Hayes. “He is very good at making coaching adjustments during a game.”

A couple volunteer varsity coaches include Ronald German who works with the offensive line and Maurice Bethea is the team psychologist. The emeritus team Mom is Mott German. The “IT” specialist is Jamie Norris and William Epps handles the video.

The junior varsity football program has lost only a few games in the past seven or eight seasons and they are head coached by former Wildcat Kevin Roberts. Roberts is assisted by offensive coordinator Gary Barfield who works with the quarterbacks and running backs. Will Clark is the defensive coordinator. Rodney Quick along with receivers coach Will Clark, defensive backs coach Twin Lester, defensive line coach Randy McCollum and Roberts works with the offensive line.

The Dillon Wildcat Athletic Booster Club has been under the direction of 20 year veteran Ronnie Herring. “The booster club does a great job helping is run our golf tournament, and they sell ads and produce our football program as two of their main functions in addition to selling season tickets for our home games,” said Coach Hayes. “Our booster club does a great job for our athletes.”

The Principal of Dillon is Timothy Gibbs who Coach Hayes describes as very supportive of all activities at Dillon High. Ray Rogers, long time Superintendent, hired Coach Hayes in 1992 and the two have remained very close friends ever since. The new field house at Dillon along with three adjacent and well manicured practice fields is named in honor of Mr. Rogers, a former HSSR School Administrator of the Year.

“Like in any season we hope to one of the two final teams left playing at the end of the season,” said Coach Hayes. “No question we have a great group of coaches and our players are dedicated and focused. Our kids know what the expectations are and the kids playing for us now understand what it takes to compete and win championships because that is what they have been experiencing the past five or six years and that is a huge plus for us.”

Dillon’s top returning senior is defensive lineman Shamar McCollum (6-4, 220) who committed to Wake Forest in early July. Junior quarterback Ja’teil Lester returns after passing for over 2,000 yards as a sophomore. The top rising sophomore is receiver Ahmari Huggins-Bruce who had a coming out party in the championship game last season when he caught four passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. The top player up from the jayvee will be freshman running back Nemo Squires (5-9, 180) who can fly. Squires will be joined by power junior transfer running back Tyquan King (6-2, 210). Veteran senior tackle Khalil Bethea will anchor the offensive line.

Two way performer Corrian Wright returns at receiver and defensive back. Veteran linebackers Dray Thompson and Jadarius McDaniel form an imposing duo on defense with Shakai Jeanty teaming up with McCollum up-front to give the Nasty Cats a competitive edge against most offenses the Wildcats will play.

 Dillon, ranked number one in AAA by the HSSR to start the season, comes into the 2018 season with only 9 games scheduled and they will start the season on the road at Lumberton on August, 17th. “We are still looking for a 10th game and we have dates open on August, 24th and September, 14th,” said Coach Hayes. “We would love to pick up a game on one of those two dates.”




© 2017 High School Sports Report

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