The reigns of the Summerville High School Boys Soccer program have officially changed hands.
Matt Legare, who took over as the school’s athletic director at the end of the school year, has announced Damon Dixon has been hired as the new head coach for the Green Wave program. Dixon replaces Jason Rasner, who after serving in the position for several seasons has decided to move to the Up State.
“I wanted to make sure we got the right person for our kids and someone who fits the core values of our school,” Legare said. “We had a lot of great candidates, but Coach Dixon has a background in local club sports, connection with the youth and has been a successful soccer coach in our state. What really impressed us is he understands athletics is just one part of teaching kids how to be successful and being a part of Summerville Athletics is a privilege. ”
Dixon is a South Carolina native and University of South Carolina graduate who has served as an elementary school teacher at Austin Bailey Elementary the past four years. Locally he has coached for the Charleston Battery and Summerville Soccer Club, focusing largely on youth development. In all he has more than 20 years of coaching experience.
“Playing soccer in college got me into coaching,” Dixon said. “An injury ended my future plans so I decided to go into education. For some time one of my goals has been to become a college coach and when this job became available I was like this is it. I compare coaching here to being a college coach due to the history of Summerville High. ”
When he was younger, Dixon played Olympic Development soccer under Mark Berson, who coached for the University of South Carolina for 43 seasons, and former Irmo High School coach Phil Savitz. He landed an athletic scholarship from Anderson College but after the injury ended his playing career he transferred to USC.
“Growing up I played a lot of sports, but soccer was always my best sport,” he said. “I thought I was going to be a star. Then I went to Anderson and tore an Achilles. I’ve been coaching since. Coaching got me into teaching and now I get to do two jobs I love. ”
Prior to moving to the Lowcountry, he coached in the Greenville County School District several years. He began as a volunteer, became a scouting coach and JV coach before eventually being named the head coach at Wade Hampton High.
“I worked at developing players a long time before I stepped in as their head coach,” he said. “I had worked with some of the kids in that community for 10 years and I wanted to see what I could do to help them find a pathway into college.”
His tenure there peeked with Wade Hampton having two appearances in the Upper State finals and sending several players into the college soccer ranks.
“Those were great runs that ended against great teams,” he said. “One year we lost to Clover and the next year to JL Mann.”
He thought he was done with coaching high school soccer, but the Summerville position lured him back in.
“My number one goal with teaching and coaching is building relationships and all the DD2 schools kind of play off relationship building, rigor and relevance,” he said. “With high school students in particular you have to make it relevant for them. It’s not just about being on the team, they are a student first. Coaching isn’t about winning or losing it’s about building better citizens. ”
He is confident about the caliber of soccer players in the SHS attendance zone and thinks his style of coaching is a good fit for the local community.
“The talent in the Lowcountry is equal to if not better than the talent in many other parts of the state,” he said. “I hope to teach our players how to be successful no matter what the situation. I want them to be prepared mentally and not react the wrong way to certain situations. Whether I’m teaching second graders or working with high school athletes, I want to pass on core values. Commitment probably comes first. I need to see a player can be on time and committed. Grades and teamwork matter. ”