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Priddy takes reins of Rebels basketball
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SPRINGFIELD — Travis Priddy wasn’t sure what to expect after accepting a teaching job at Effingham County High School.

He had been at several small private schools and a few public schools, but a Class AAAAAA school with nearly 2,000 students?

“I thought, ‘Was it going to be big and distant?’ ” Priddy said. “But it wasn’t.”

Now he has a big opportunity to coach the Rebels boys basketball team, which is expected to be loaded with returning talent, and take it a long way.

Priddy, who began teaching special education (resource science) last year, took over the basketball Xs and Os from Jake Darling, who stepped into a bigger office as ECHS’ athletic director.

Darling replaced Matt Huntley, who is now the coordinator at Crossroads Academy.

“Coach Darling did a good job breeding a winning culture here and they’ve been a top-five team in the area,” Priddy said. “They have a talented team coming back and they’ve been a fun group to be around.”

Priddy, a Charleston, West Virginia, native, has coached basketball in the Georgia-Florida-South Carolina area for about 20 years. He graduated from West Virginia State University in 1998, then worked as a basketball assistant at his alma mater before taking a job as an assistant at Hastings College.

In 2002, he landed another college assistant job at Armstrong Atlantic in Savannah.

Priddy got his first head coaching job at Nature Coast Tech in Brooksville, Florida, and came back to the Coastal Empire for jobs at Savannah Country Day (2007-09), Savannah Christian (five years) and Hilton Head Christian (2019-21).

He’s also coached at Freedom High and Gulf High in the Tampa area.

Priddy will inherit an experienced team that is coming off two consecutive 18-win seasons and fell just short of a region championship when Statesboro hit a shot at the buzzer in the 2-AAAAAA tournament title game.

ECHS will return 6-foot-3 forward Keion Wallace, probably the best dual-sport athlete in the area. Wallace, a Division I-A prospect in football, has been a three-time, all-region performer in basketball. He was the region’s co-Player of the Year in 2021.

Jordan Goldwire, Rashad Scott, Timmy Brown and Ashley Thompson (each earning all-region honors) are other returning starters.

“What I like about this team is there’s no jealousy,” said Priddy, who had a chance to be around the players in the summer before getting hired on July 21. “They’re a close-knit group and they all seem to know their roles. … When you have five guys who can play together, you have something special.”