The McCormick County School District shortened its list to six candidates before hiring Paul Pratt this month to replace Russ Schneider as McCormick High School football coach.
All but two candidates — Ferric Fuller and Brian Hennecy — had previously coached at McCormick.
Brian Neal, who stepped down as Aiken High School’s coach in February, coached the Chiefs from 2011-13. Neal also had coaching stops at North Myrtle Beach, Ninety Six and Long Cane Academy.
Charles Mann has taught at McCormick since 2004 and served as head coach for four years. He was assistant football coach for two years, defensive coordinator for six years, athletic director for four years and is entering his fourth year as assistant principal. Mann’s wife, Andrea Mann, is on the school board.
Bryan Buffkin was the offensive coordinator and had a stint as interim head coach while working at McCormick from 2012-14.
He applied in April but declined an interview and took a job as the Ware Shoals offensive coordinator.
Pratt graduated from McCormick in 1982 and began coaching football as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator in 2000. He also coached McCormick’s JV team for 14 years. Pratt has coached softball, basketball, served as substitute bus driver and been the in-school suspension supervisor in addition to coaching football.
McCormick High School athletic director Gena Wideman emphasized one reason the committee picked Pratt was because he’s already there, which she said is “important to the growth of a program.”
Hennecy most recently served as an assistant football coach at Marion High School, and Fuller left Calhoun Falls Charter School in April to coach Lander’s club football team.