AJ to begin interviews

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Vols looking to land 10th grid coach

By Robert Howey

KERSHAW The move to hire a new football coach at Andrew Jackson High School reaches the interview stage this week.

AJ High school officials, according to Volunteers’ athletic director Dale Reeves, will be interviewing “between 10-12” candidates for the job. The vacancy occurred April 17 when Volunteers’ coach Louis Clyburn resigned to take the job of head football coach and athletic director at North Central High School in Kershaw County.

Clyburn, who coached one season at AJ, is replacing Ron Blackmon, who resigned his coaching duties at the Class A high school Feb. 18.

“We feel we have some quality candidates,” said Reeves, who noted the job has drawn over 50 applications. “We felt we would have a good bit of interest in this job. It didn’t take long for the word to get out.”

Reeves said the interview panel will include teachers, parents, students and community members along with himself.

Reeves said no certain timetable has been established to name a new coach, but he hopes to have the task completed “as soon as possible.”

He added applications will continue to be accepted until the job is filled.

Clyburn, who came to AJ with 13 years of college coaching experience with his last post at Elon University, was hired as the Vols’ head coach in January of 2008. Clyburn was selected from a field of more than 55 candidates, one of seven applicants interviewed for the Vols’ job.

Clyburn’s successor, the 10th head football coach in AJ’s 40-year history, will inherit a team which went 5-5, its best regular-season finish dating back to the 2004 Vols’ season.

The 2008 AJ team, which broke 25 school records, finished third in Conference IV-AA and earned a bid to the Class AA Upper State playoffs.

The Vols dropped a first-round 59-28 road loss to Batesburg-Leesville. AJ finished 5-6, while B-L advanced to the second round and finished 8-4 after losing to Woodruff High School.

Clyburn replaced Ernie Hughes as the Vols head coach following Hughes’ resignation after the 2007 season. Hughes, who is now an assistant coach at Class AAAA Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, posted a 20-35 mark and led AJ to four playoff berths in five seasons.

Clyburn follows Blackmon at North Central where he has spent the last eight seasons of a 26-year coaching career, including two as a Knights’ assistant. Prior to coaching at North Central, Blackmon, a Heath Springs native, coached at Chesterfield, Allendale-Fairfax and Midland Valley.

Following Clyburn’s resignation as head coach, AJ officials named Vols’ defensive coordinator David Moore as interim head coach. Moore’s main responsibility is to lead the AJ weight program until the Vols’ new coach is hired.

AJ competes in Region IV-AA which includes Central of Pageland, Lee Central of Bishopville along with Columbia area high schools Columbia, Eau Claire and Keenan.

North Central plays in Region III-A which includes Buford and Indian Land high schools in Lancaster County along with Great Falls and Lewisville in Chester County and Chesterfield County schools McBee and Chesterfield.

AJ kicks off its 2009 football season, hosting Lancaster on Aug. 28.