It’s an interesting time to be the athletic director at A.C. Flora High School. Ed Moore just completed his second year in the role.
On the athletic fields, Moore has found himself posing for many pictures with state champions or state runners–up. Off the field, he has spent his fair share of time dealing with a changing athletic department.
Last year, he replaced boys’ soccer coach Matt Berry with David Schroer. This year the changes have come from different sports and different directions.
In the fall, Moore was faced with replacing head football coach Reggie Shaw, who took the opening at Byrnes High School. After assisting in a search that brought in over 160 applications across 27 states and two countries, Moore chose Collin Drafts.
“He brings a different level of energy and excitement to us,” Moore said. “He’s shown great leadership in his previous stints, both as a coach and a player. We’re excited about all he brings to the table. It’s going to take a while to get things going. We lost a lot of seniors. Any time you lose a lot of seniors and go through a coaching change, there are going to be hurdles along the way. We certainly have confidence in Coach Drafts to get things moving in the right direction.”
The changes didn’t stop there. In April, longtime girls’ basketball head coach Patti Moore announced she was stepping away from her post; however she will remain at A.C. Flora as assistant athletic director.
Moore found Patti Moore’s replacement from her staff, first year assistant coach Coral Johnson, who is also the new girls’ track coach.
“Coaching is about developing and building trust and relationships, and he already has that. That’s what made the decision quite easy,” Moore said. “We saw the relationship he had with our athletes, and we saw how much they listened and respected him. We knew there wouldn’t be much of a change going forward.”
And if those weren’t enough changes, Moore found out last week Richard McClure, A.C. Flora’s principal, was leaving.
“He was a principal who had his hand in every aspect of this school but didn’t have a heavy hand in it,” Moore said. “He wanted to be included, know what was going on. We sought his guidance daily, but he also allowed us to lead the way we needed to. He understood what athletics mean to A.C. Flora and the culture of the school, and he embraced it.”
For Moore, the 2016- 2017 athletic season wasn’t just about change off the field but also success on it.
It began in the fall when the football team knocked off Myrtle Beach in the 4A playoffs.
The momentum carried over into the spring when the Falcons’ lacrosse team finished as state runners up.
The boys’ golf team followed up with its eighth straight state championship. Amy Martin’s boys’ tennis team finished as runners–up for a second year in a row. To conclude the sports’ calendar, Andy Hallett’s baseball team won its fourth state championship in six seasons.
It was the baseball team’s journey and ultimate state championship Moore said he enjoyed the most.
During the course of the season, the baseball program faced questions regarding athletic booster club finances.
Moore said he was pleased with how Hallett handled the situation.
“You always hear coaches talk and preach of what kids are supposed to do when they face adversity, but its great to see how coach Hallett handled himself in the situation he was placed in,” Moore said. “He handled it with the utmost character and represented himself and A.C. Flora very well.”
The 2016-2017 athletic season followed a recent trend for A.C. Flora High School, which continues to compete at a high level in a variety of sports. In the past six years, A.C. Flora has won state championships in ten different sports. The Falcons have claimed 14 team state championships and 16 individual state championships.
The upward trend extends into participation.
A.C. Flora far and away leads other Richland District One schools in participation. Taking into account some athletes play more than one sport, the Falcons have 842 boys and girls participating in 22 sports. The next highest is Dreher High School with 548 boys and girls participating in 18 sports.
The numbers only appear to be trending upward. In an overview of A.C. Flora athletics, it was determined that 137 athletes from the class of 2016 had participated in sports since their seventh grade year. The class of 2019 currently has 180.
The entire A.C. Flora coaching staff consists of 82 paid coaches and 40 volunteer coaches. Moore said the growth in athletics spills over to the sub-varsity programs. Over the last year, he has had to add 11 new coaches. In the coming weeks, Moore will announce new softball and girls’ soccer coaches.
As if A.C. Flora wasn’t already reveling in the good times, construction is currently underway for a new athletic complex. Moore said once it is completed, A.C. Flora will host soccer, lacrosse, and junior varsity football games, and possibly football games for Crayton Middle School. The complex will also have much needed concession and restroom facilities.
It all adds up to busy times for Moore. But if the busy times mean more times posing for pictures and more trophies filling the A.C. Flora trophy cases, the work will be worth it.
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