Former SCTCCCA president and Dreher coach Danny Brooks has had an unorthodox start to his new position as assistant commissioner at the South Carolina High School League.
All he's had to deal with is the first pandemic in a century. The havoc that COVID-19 has wreaked on athletics across the state wiping out last spring's season and threatening the fall has been a thorn in the side of everyone involved.
"It's been an interesting transition and learning curve and an exciting one," Brooks said. "When you come in a pandemic, it's basically baptism by fire."
Brooks has now been on both sides of the fence as a coach and working inside the high school league. He said gaining valuable experience as a former coach helps decision making in his new role.
"It's tremendous," he said. "I think there's a true foundation, and I couldn't have made it without that."
Brooks has a close eye on the upcoming cross country season, which released a new practice start date of Aug. 24 last week. The first scrimmage is set for Aug. 31 with the season to begin on Sept. 7. The season will cover a shortened period of seven weeks.
Greenville County adopted a plan that prohibits any teams out of state to travel in state and vice versa. There will also not be any overnight trips allowed.
While the state as a whole has not issued the same guidelines, Brooks said that he wouldn't be surprised to see it happen.
"The best practices for around the country, and the superintendents and leads that are in conversation about it, is with this virus you want to avoid cross contamination," he said. "I think you will see similar plans as a pretty common practice."
Brooks added that other plans, particularly classification realignment, have not been set but being "thought about." He added that the most recent fall sports plan approved by the league's executive committee is not the final attempt should another road block be in the way.
"There's a backup plan and a backup plan to that backup plan," he said. It's like when you go into a game with a game plan, and if something doesn't go right you can't just forfeit. You have to make adjustments to it. It's the same with this."
Cross country coaches will meet via Zoom next week to vote to approve holding state qualifiers in proposed locations at Crooked Creek Park and Sandhills on Oct. 30 and 31. The two separate races on those dates will be varsity only under the plan with 12 teams from each classification moving on to the state meet.
Brooks said that each classification will be making the final decision regarding the proposals.
"The qualifiers are determined by the classifications," he said. "It's usually pretty uniform, but it's a class decision. The coaches will have to convince the classifications of what they're selling."
A look at Brooks' roles at SCHSL
- Swim, Boys & Girls
- Cross Country, Boys & Girls
- Track & Field, Boys & Girls
- Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC)
- Student Leadership
- Weekly Trivia
- Student of the Month
- Coaches Education