Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Irmo’s Canady named Region 5-4A Athletic Director of the Year

Irmo athletic director Ray Canady

Irmo athletic director Ray Canady

Irmo High School athletic director Ray Canady has been named Region 5- 4A A thletic Director of the Year by the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by your peers and to work with a great group of athletic directors,”

Canady said. “Dr. Ed Moore is our region coordinator and does a fantastic job. He sets a great example for everyone else in the region. We have some new athletic directors in the region because of realignment, so we are still getting to know each other. So far, it’s been a great group and a pleasure to work with.”

A 1988 Irmo graduate, Canady is beginning his fourth year as the Yellow

Jackets’ athletic director, and so far the new year has been a welcome change.

“Hopefully this will be my first year COVID free,” Canady said. “So far, so good. It was a learning experience, on the job training. We all had to go through something no one could have dreamed of.”

When he arrived at Irmo, he wanted to make sure Irmo athletes had the best equipment, facilities, and coaches to give them a chance to be successful. A change in classification, from 5A to 4A in 2020 has also helped the Yellow Jackets become more competitive in the athletic arena.

One way Canady helps is by meeting with every coach at the conclusion of their seasons. He discusses with the coach where the program is and what each coach needs or wants to be successful. Then he provides each team with what it needs. For Canady, though, his focus isn’t just on the varsity program, he also evaluates the junior varsity, B, and C teams to see if they are providing good developmental programs.

Along with the challenges COVID presented, Canady said safety is a top priority. Recent developments during a Spring Valley/ Ridge View football game brought safety back to the forefront. It was just over four years ago a similar incident halted the Yellow Jackets’ game with Dutch Fork.

“Safety and security have always come first,” Canady said. “ We’ve learned from that incident a few years ago. We are always evolving, always changing. We meet and talk about safety as an administrative team and with the district security team weekly. We get tremendous district support. They provide a lot of support to ensure we have safe games.”

While the challenges come with the job, Canady enjoys a lot about being the athletic director for Irmo, including watching practices after school. One of the biggest adjustments Canady had to make when he became the athletic director was not having as much day-to-day interaction with the student athletes. Watching practices and games gives him a chance to see them compete and be successful.

Along with his duties as Irmo’s athletic director, Canady has also helped with various high school championship events. Recently, Irmo High School hosted soccer and lacrosse championships, the 4A volleyball qualifier, and the 4A cheer qualifier.

“Anytime we can put Irmo in the public spotlight in a positive manner, we want to do it,” Canady said. “We want to be good stewards and good hosts, as well as help the community.”

As Canady focuses on the current school year and into the future for Irmo, he wants to make sure the Yellow Jackets put a good product on the field.

“I want the kids to feel comfortable. I want them to be competitive,” Canady said. “I also want them to be prepared to graduate and become productive members of society. I think the coaches recognize that and motivate the players. We want them to be successful in whatever they choose to do while they are in high school. We want them to have a goal and a vision for what comes after high school.”

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