The coaching carousel continues to turn within the Fort Mill school district, this time with the Yellow Jackets replacing two coaching spots with three people.
Fort Mill High School leaders recently hired coaches for boys’ soccer and cross-country. Mark Seren will replace Phillip McCarter for boys’ soccer, as McCarter moves to Catawba Ridge High.
Both Joelle Brotemarkle and Lee Whitaker will be co-head coaches for cross-country as they replace David Helms, who also moves to Catawba Ridge.
Seren has been an assistant the past two seasons with Fort Mill and has been involved with the game of soccer as a player or coach since he was in the second grade.
Seren played college soccer at Division III King’s College in Pennsylvania after playing in high school in his native New Jersey.
He moved to the area in 2003 with his family and has been involved as a coach for his children in their recreational and travel teams before joining the staff of Fort Mill.
Seren is also currently on the board of Discoveries Soccer Club. Seren said he feels like the team is heading in the right direction and wants to keep the trajectory moving upward.
“Our region is the toughest in the state I believe,” Seren said. “My goal is to automatically qualify for the playoffs by finishing as one of the top three in the region.”
Fort Mill qualified last season as an at-large team for the playoffs, after having not made the playoffs in 2018. The Jackets lost a third of their team for 2020 to graduation and will be returning nine rising seniors and six rising juniors for a strong core of players.
The Whitaker and Brotemarkle combination in coaching should go as smooth as bread and butter. The two have coached together as assistant track coaches for years at Fort Mill, before Brotemarkle became girls’ head soccer coach last year for the Jackets.
Brotemarkle will keep her role as head girls’ soccer coach for Fort Mill as well.
“I am really excited,” Brotemarkle said. “Coach Whitaker and I work really well together.”
Brotemarkle and Whitaker agreed the two compliment each other. Brotemarkle said her job is to work on items such as speed, agility, and strength and conditioning for the cross-country team.
Whitaker adds that he would be focusing on the athletes’ running distances as well and how to help them in that area.
“I love running in general and I love working with high school kids,” Whitaker said. “I want to help them get better.”
Whitaker agreed with Brotemarkle’s statement about the two working together. He said that because he doesn’t work within the district, it helps to rely on Brotemarkle for things like getting buses and other logistical travel issues, as well as the direct contact she has with the students as a teacher.
The two coaches are expecting about 120 runners on this coming year’s cross-country team and are working now to try to individualize programs for each runner to help them improve in areas they may be weak.
“This year we have a software package we are using,” Whitaker said. “It will help with crafting things to their ability.”
“We are going to be very goal driven,” Brotemarkle added.
Fort Mill still has one more coaching spot to fill with that of boys’ lacrosse.