High School Sports

New Fort Mill high school, opening in 2019-20, announces coaching staff additions

Fort Mill’s third high school, Catawba Ridge, is adding more coaches to its growing staff.

Coaches at Fort Mill and Nation Ford will be calling Catawba Ridge home later this year when the school opens for the 2019-20 school year. Among them are Fort Mill girls’ basketball coach Brett Childers and assistant volleyball coach Alicia Lisee, as well as Nation Ford cheerleading coach Kristin Rhodes.

Childers has been girls’ basketball coach at Fort Mill for the past six seasons. He came to the Fort Mill School District from South Pointe in Rock Hill and guided the Yellow Jackets to the playoffs in four of his first five seasons.

At Catawba Ridge, Childers won’t be coaching girls’ basketball,. He’ll be the first ever boys’ basketball coach.

“It was a unique opportunity with everything happening the way it did with a new school coming to the district,” he said. “It was something I had an interest in and didn’t know if it was going to become a reality. It is a tremendous opportunity in regards to growing a program at a new school.”

Childers said it will be tough to leave Fort Mill simply because of the relationships he has formed over the years.

“It is always tough to leave a place that you care about,” he said. “I build a lot of relationships here with the girls and the staff and the administration.”

Childers has been involved in girls’ basketball for 17 years, but said the right opportunity to coach boys’ basketball never really presented itself until the Catawba Ridge job came along.

“It always worked out for me with the opportunities being on the women’s side,” he said. “It is something I have always had dreams of doing and the guys side always intrigued me. I know its going to be a challenge and there are things I am going to have to learn, but it’s a challenge I am ready for and I have been preparing for.”

Catawba Ridge principal Dee Christopher said hiring Childers wasn’t a hard choice for him and athletic director Rick Lewis.

“I initially hired him six years ago,” Christopher said. “Brett is a leader at heart and he is a basketball coach. He has had a great example to work with in (Fort Mill boys basketball coach and athletic director) Dwayne Hartsoe and he has been around the game his whole life. His dad was a college basketball coach and his brother is a basketball coach. It is in his blood.”

Lisee has served as assistant volleyball coach at Fort Mill for the past two seasons and is a former volleyball player at Erskine College and Rock Hill High. Before coming to Fort Mill, she was an assistant volleyball coach at Rock Hill as well. She has a Masters degree from Winthrop and currently teaches biology at Fort Mill. She will be teaching biology at Catawba Ridge.

“I am very excited about the opportunity,” Lisee said. “It is not every day that you get to start your own program.”

Lisee said she isn’t exactly sure who she is getting when it comes to players, but said based on the map of the new attendance zones for the three high schools in Fort Mill, she will be getting some players from Nation Ford, who won the 5A state championship last year.

“It does make you kind of nervous not having seniors,” she said. “But I do know we are getting some girls from Nation Ford, so that is exciting about who may be coming.”

Lewis said that the school will release the names of more coaches at Catawba Ridge at a later date as the hiring process continues. In December 2018, Nation Ford’s Zac Lendyak was named the first head football coach for Catawba Ridge. Lewis was named the first ever athletic director for the school in November 2018 coming to the school from Myers Park in Charlotte after retiring from the North Carolina education system at the end of 2018.

Catawba Ridge will start this fall with ninth through 11th grade enrollment. The Copperheads will play in Region 4-3A, the same region as Indian Land and Chester, though not in football. The Copperheads will assume a regular region football schedule in 2020-21, one that will include cross-town rivals Fort Mill and Nation Ford (whether the three schools are in the same region or not).

Mac Banks: mbanks@comporium.net, @MacBanksFM

Sophie Fischer, Cammy McDonagh and Carrie Christian talk about the Nation Ford Falcons' 3-0 win in the 5A volleyball state title match Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.

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