When South Aiken High School teacher and coach Paul Waters was arrested and charged with five counts of sexual battery with a student in December, it impacted a number of people in a variety of ways. One group that has been indirectly affected is moving forward.
Although Waters is currently on paid administrative leave while the school system and police investigate the alleged crimes, he's no longer the head coach of the boys' soccer team at South Aiken. While his status as a teacher – among other issues – will be determined, he has already been relieved of his position with the soccer team.
South Aiken athletic director Bob Polewski confirmed that Waters has been replaced, and Dave Myers has been hired as the new head coach.
“The season is coming up and I wanted someone in place for the program,” Polewski said. “It's a good program and I wanted to solidify it.”
Myers wasn't available to comment on his new position for this report.
Myers was an assistant coach for the Thoroughbreds last season and has helped the program previously. He was also the head coach of the boys' team at Aiken High in the early part of the past decade and has remained active in coaching in the area, serving as a coach on a number of youth and club teams.
“The kids know him and I think he'll do a great job,” said Polewski, who formally introduced Myers to the team as the head coach last Wednesday. “He's a technician of the game.”
Myers familiarity with the players and the program should be a help since he doesn't have much time before the season starts. Players are currently allowed to work on conditioning, and full practices are permitted to begin on Feb. 3. The regular season will start soon thereafter with the T-Breds competing in tournaments before commencing play in Region 5-AAAA.
Much is expected of the South Aiken boys, who posted a 21-3 record last year and won the region title before advancing to the third round of the Class AAAA state playoffs. The core of that team is expected to return, including all-stars Daniel Zaremba and Skyler Lightbody. But high expectations are the norm for the program which isn't only one of the best in the area, but among the elite in the Palmetto State year after year.
While a shadow has been cast over Waters' character, the fact is the T-Breds were very successful in his 11 seasons as head coach.
They recorded 211 wins and captured two state titles among several other successes and accolades that include sending several players to the collegiate level.
Maintaining that high level of play won't be easy.
“You never know with a transition, but I feel comfortable,” Polewski said of switching to Myers as the new head coach. “I think it will be a smooth transition and a positive transition. It will be good for the program.”
Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 14 years after graduating from Syracuse University.