Socastee’s successful sports season ends with turnover

On the heels of arguably the best sports year in school history, the Socastee athletic program is also seeing unprecedented turnover.

While Socastee is poised to name a new head football coach to a team that went 12-1 last season, boys basketball coach Tommy Johnson announced his retirement Wednesday after 38 years in coaching, the last eight for the Braves. He coached at Wilson and West Florence before taking over for former longtime Socastee coach Dan D’Antoni.

Johnson’s announcement marks the third major vacancy in the Socastee sports program this year. First-year athletics director David Bennett stepped down last month to take the same job at upstart River Bluff High. Football coach Tim Renfrow announced he was hanging up his whistle to return to the AD role he held a decade ago.

Socastee has narrowed its list of finalists for the football job to three, including an internal candidate in offensive coordinator and softball coach Steve Hodge. He coached the Braves’ triple-option attack and led the Lady Braves to the Lower State tournament for the first time since 2007.

Football and softball were just two of the success stories at Socastee this school year, particularly this spring. The boys tennis team captured the school’ first state title in 31 years, and the baseball and boys soccer squads reached the Lower State final.

Boys basketball, once the school’s proudest program, has been a disappointment in recent years. The Braves went 7-14 overall and 1-9 in the region to miss the playoffs. Johnson belongs to the Beach Ball Classic, Florence County and S.C. Basketball halls of fame but had little luck at Socastee. There was no immediate word on a possible replacement or a timeline for naming one.

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