In addition to new boys’ basketball coach Ryan Walker, the Raiders needed to fill vacancies in baseball, softball, volleyball, and girls’ track. Three of the four positions have now been filled and the new staff is on board.
In baseball, interim head coach Tori Patterson was given the nod as the permanent replacement for former coach Dale Nelson. Patterson led the Raiders to a 19-7 record, a second place finish in Region II-AAAAA, and he was recently named the Laurens County Coach of the Year for 2017.
The Raiders had a strong performance in the playoffs; but, they fell short in their games against Boiling Springs (who went on to play for the Upper State Championship). The Raiders are losing nine seniors this year; but, Patterson feels like the team is ready to reload with the only question mark being the replacement for all-region catcher Nick Howell.
In softball, Coach Butch Clark is set to retire from coaching after leading the Raiders to another region championship in 2017. Clark’s legacy will continue as two of his former players are set to take over the reins of Raider softball.
Coach Haley Register will take over as the new Raider head coach. Register is a graduate of Catawba College with a degree in physical education. She has been coaching in some capacity since her college graduation in 2013, most recently as the head softball coach at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville.
Register’s status as a former player for Clark sparked her interest in the position. She sees Clark as a true mentor and she is excited to have the opportunity to carry on his legacy. Register will teach physical education at LDHS.
Another Clark protégé will be on hand to assist Register. Megan Evans, a 2011 LDHS graduate and a recent graduate of North Greenville University, is set to serve as an assistant coach in softball and in volleyball.
Evans spent last year as an assistant in both sports at Easley High School. Evans played for Clark during her tenure at LDHS and also played volleyball for the Raiders. While playing volleyball at LDHS, Evans was selected to the ASO All Star Team, was a Coaches Award recipient, and a High School Heisman nominee. Evans, with a B.S. in Social Studies Education, will be teaching history at LDHS in 2017-2018.
In volleyball, Caroline Culbertson will move from her JV head coaching position to become the new varsity head coach. She will be replacing Diane Raabe who is making a change for personal reasons. Raabe was also the head girls’ track coach.
Culbertson has already been working to promote volleyball to girls at an early age in hopes of improving the fundamental skills of student-athletes as they progress through middle school and into high school. Culbertson will continue in her teaching role as the physical education teacher at Laurens Elementary School.
LCSD 55 Athletic Director, Ed Murray, said, “we are pleased to have all of our new coaches on board as members of the Raider family. Our goal is to ensure that we have a cadre of coaches who understand and support the dual role of student-athletes. We want to ensure that our teams are competitive and that our student-athletes do everything necessary, on and off the field, to prepare themselves for life after high school – no matter what direction they might take.”