NORTH AUGUSTA — North Augusta High School will have to replace two more coaches. Both Joy Collins, the head coach of the girls’ swim team, and Chris Liner, coach of the boys’ squad, have resigned from their positions.
Both Collins and Liner helped create the swimming program at North Augusta, where they have served as head coaches for the past 10 years.
“It was nothing to do with my girls – I love my girls and my team,” Collins said last week. “At this time in my life I needed to devote more time in my life to my family.”
Collins explained that the swim team schedule, which takes place during the fall, conflicted with family events.
Less than a week after Collins’ resignation, Liner followed suit. She issued a statement to the team on its website, touching on similar themes as Collins.
“I know this may come as a shock since it comes on the heels of Coach Joy’s resignation,” Liner said. “I have decided it is time to pass the kickboard at North Augusta High. I am truly honored to have been one of the catalysts for the inaugural team and I know the team will prosper and succeed for many years to come. Please know that each and every swimmer on the team; past and present, has made a special place in my heart. I will take the memories with me and cherish them more than you could ever know.”
Liner said she and Collins “ran like a fine-toothed comb” over the past decade.
“We had set something in place that could run by itself,” Liner said. “When I saw that (Collins) was leaving I thought it was my time as well. Of course I want to spend more time with my family, but there are other things out there as well. It’s time to have someone come in with a new tradition, new stuff; it gives me a chance to do some things as well.”
In her statement, Liner talked about leaving the team to move on to new challenges in her life. Liner specifically talked about wanting to go back to get her Master’s degree. She has been a social studies teacher at Paul Knox Middle School for the past 12 years.
Collins said she’ll miss working with the swimmers and watching them improve. Liner said she expects both women will continue to be available to the swimmers – past and present – and help them when needed.
“Coach Collins and I aren’t going anywhere,” she said. “We’re still around. If we’re asked to help I’m sure we will.”
North Augusta’s plans to replace the coaches and fill vacancies on the boys’ and girls’ swim teams is currently unknown. Aiken County currently allows for one stipend for a swim coach, and other schools such as Aiken and South Aiken have one head coach.
There’s no job listing for a swim coach at North Augusta on the Aiken County Public Schools website. The Yellow Jacket Invitational, which kicks off North Augusta’s swim season, is set for Aug. 23 at the Augusta Aquatic Center.
North Augusta Star news editor Scott Rodgers and staff writer T.J. Lundeen contributed to this report.