Fort Mill High's athletic director and boys basketball coach, Bailey Jackson, is leaving the school after accepting an academic/administrative assistant position at Clover High.
Jackson, whose last day at Fort Mill will be June 30, had been boys basketball coach at the school since the 2003-2004 season and has been athletic director at the school since November 2006. He was recently named Class AAA Athletic Director of the Year by the South Carolina Athletic Administration Association.
Through eight seasons at Fort Mill, Jackson went 128-76 as basketball coach and was just four wins away from 200 career wins when the Jackets' season ended in February. Jackson, who previously coached at Buford and Chesnee high schools, guided the 2007 Yellow Jackets to a Class AAAA state championship, Fort Mill's first in boys basketball since 1974.
A Clover native, Jackson told his players and fellow staff members at Fort Mill on Tuesday about his decision to leave.
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"We appreciate the contributions coach Jackson has made to Fort Mill High School over the past eight years as teacher, boys basketball coach and athletic director," Fort Mill High principal Dee Christopher said.
"His dedication to students and student-athletes at our school has been exemplary and we will miss him."
Jackson said the decision to leave Fort Mill was "a tough one," but said the opportunity was too good to pass up.
"It was not easy, but I felt it was the right thing to do," he said. "Fort Mill is an unbelievable school. We got unbelievable administrators, unbelievable teachers and great students. I have learned a lot here and we have been very successful. It's been exciting to be athletic director."
He said family played a big role in his decision to return to his roots.
"The time spent here is time not spent near my family and that played a huge role in making the decision," Jackson said.
Jackson, wife Jaye and children Caty and Wit, live just four miles from Clover High School. Jackson's parents live in the Clover area.
The academic/administrative assistant role is much like the role of assistant principal, Jackson said. He said he will be working with the freshman academy at Clover High School in his new role.
He also said that even though he is taking an administrative role, he isn't necessarily done coaching. He also will be assistant athletic director at Clover High School.
"I still have the desire to coach," he said. "I don't know that I am through coaching. This opportunity was available and the timing is good."
Jackson said he will miss the interaction he had with the students at Fort Mill High and said he was glad to help shape the basketball program. With Jackson at the helm, attendance grew among the student body at games.
"We created a basketball environment here," he said. "I think our kids had a great time."