Walterboro braces for coaching changes

Collins, above, goes over tackling drills with his new team at practice this week. (Scott Eisberg/WCIV)

By Scott

WALTERBORO, S.C. -- Some things change, but most things stay the same in small town Walterboro. The upcoming football season brings one of those rare changes.

It's a change at the helm of the Colleton County football team.

For the first time in 25 years, the team has a new head coach, Chris Collins.

"It's a great challenge. Throughout history of Colleton County, Walterboro, Ruffin they've always been successful. When I played, we played against a great Walterboro team, so I know it's in our DNA to be successful, I just want to bring us back," Collins said about the job.

Collins came to Walterboro after two years at Lakewood High in Sumter. He's familiar with the Lowcountry, {}as he played at Summerville and has coached at Berkeley, Timberland and Wando.

"It's exciting, because a lot of my friends coach at the other schools in the area. It's a challenge to coach against the McKissick's and Stackley's as well as the other coaches in the area," he says.

Amazing to think, one of the guys that you mention in the same breath as the "McKissicks and Stackley's" is Collins' predecessor at Colleton County, LeRoy Riley. Riley however, has not gone far.

After being pushed out of his head coaching spot after two winless seasons, Riley has landed about a mile down the road at Colleton Prep.

"It's not a whole lot different, football is football. It's a great group of young men. We've just got a lower number with 24 guys. It's easier to keep a hand on things, keep them all involved," Riley said.

It's a bittersweet move for Riley, but after three days of practice, he couldn't be happier with the new opportunity.

"I had not intended to pursue any more head coaching jobs," he said. "I was willing to be a JV or B-team coach with another school I had to travel to. I was not going to move my family. It's my oldest son's senior year, and it's not a good time to make a move."

"I always enjoyed coaching, even the last two challenging years at Colleton County High School. I was not going to be a head coach outside of the community."

In the end, they're two men, one town, two teams, one dream -- bringing a winner to Walterboro.