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Nick Smith to step down as SEHS' AD
Nick Smith
Nick Smith overlooks the soccer field at South Effingham days after getting the athletic director's job in the spring of 2021. Smith will be leaving SEHS after accepting a job as maintenance coordinator for the district. (Donald Heath/For the Effingham Herald)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

GUYTON – South Effingham athletic director Nick Smith is leaving, but he plans on never being too far away.

Smith was recently approved as the district's maintenance coordinator and will step down from athletic director – a position he held for two years.

"I'll still be in the county and I look forward to serving, only in a different capacity," said Smith, 42, who expected to have more time with his wife and two children.

"My family is a priority and they have been extremely supportive during my time as a coach and athletic director. I'm excited to be able to spend a little more time with them in the evenings."

Smith has been a long-time fixture in the community. He grew up in Toombs County and earned his bachelor and master’s degrees from Georgia Southern University before arriving in Effingham County.

Smith’s first coaching job was at ECHS as a linebackers’ coach.

He arrived at South in 2011 and taught history classes -- AP government, civics and current issues -- along with coaching the linebackers before becoming football coach Donnie Revell’s defensive coordinator.

When Mustangs AD Jeff Faith left to become the assistant coordinator serving Crossroads Academy and enCompass Academy, Smith took over as athletic director.

During Smith's two-year tenure, SEHS produced its first team state champion – the 2023 wrestling team during the dual season. The Mustangs' Game Day Cheer team also won a state championship.

"It's one of those situations where you don't want to see him go, but you understand why," Mustangs baseball coach Jesse Osborne said. "He's done an outstanding job. Every time you came out here, you saw Nick Smith. Every coach out here is proud to call him our AD. He's a guy who will go to bat for you. It's going to be hard to see him go. It'll be hard to fill those shoes, that's for sure."

SEHS now has two major vacancies to fill in its athletic department. Recently, football coach Nathan Clark left to take a coaching job at Lee County High School.

Smith said Clark's departure wasn't related to his plan to leave.

"I have had the privilege of working with some really great people," Smith said. "We have fantastic students, teachers, and coaches at South and they are what make this place special. 

"I'm grateful for (SEHS principal) Dr. Torian White and the leadership that he provides. I feel like we are headed in a great direction athletically and I have no doubt that this will continue."

Track and field

Wong sets SEHS pole vault record

Jared Wong vaulted to the top of the South Effingham record book in the pole vault on March 31 at the SCCPSS Friday Night Lights at Savannah High School.

Wong, a junior, rose 10’6” to better the previous mark of 10’ set on five different occasions – twice each by Chase Garrett and Dylan Quesada last season and once by Wong on March 23 at the Rebel Invitational this season.

At Friday Night Lights, SEHS had several first-place performances. Devin Hallman won the 400-meter dash with a time of 51.60 and the 800 with a time of 2:07.05.

Tyler Phillips won the 3200 with a 10:01.38 and Justice Mydell skied 6-2 to win the high jump.

Here's a look at SEHS' top-five performances: Devin Hallman (400, 1st, 51.60 and 800, 1st, 2:07.05), Isaiah Campbell (400, 2nd, 52.67), Amari Branch (400, 3rd, 53.23), Kaleb Hodges (800, 5th, 2:13.14), Tyler Phillips (3200, 1st, 10.01.38 and 1600, 3rd, 4:40.41), Julian Howard (1600, 4th, 4:46.97), Caiden Mason (3200, 5th, 10:54.86), Damien Washington (110 hurdles, 3rd, 17:32), Zachary Stapleton (110 hurdles, 5th, 18:45 and 300 hurdles, 5th, 45.95), 4 x 100 (5th, 46.66) 4 X 200 (5th, 45.95), 4 X 400 (1st, 3:35.62), 4 X 800 (1st, 8:37). Justice Mydell (high jump, 1st, 8:37.20 and triple, 2nd, 41-0.25), Jared Wong (pole, 2nd, 10-6), Nicholas Garrett (pole, 5th, 8-0).