After 11 seasons at the helm, Fort Mill head football coach Ed Susi is stepping down.
The school announced Friday Susi is leaving the program at the end of the 2017-’18 school year. He said he plans to look for other opportunities. In the meantime, he will continue teaching in the FMHS physical education department.
“I started to think about it (stepping down) the last few weeks of the year,” Susi said. “I think we both need a new direction. I think it is the right time to do it. Pretty soon there will be another school around here and it will give the new coach a chance to get his feet wet first.”
Catawba Ridge, the Fort Mill school district’s third high school — Nation Ford, its second, opened in 2007 —is scheduled to open for the 2019 school year.
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Susi just completed a 4-7 season with the Yellow Jackets, including a playoff loss. Overall, his record on the field during his time at Fort Mill was 51-71. He is the longest serving head football coach in the school’s modern era (since 1960) and his 51 wins are second only to Gus Allen’s record of 63 victories. Susi’s Yellow Jackets went 7-4 against Nation Ford and he led the team to five playoff appearances.
His most successful season was in 2014 when Susi guided the Jackets to a 9-3 record. He also oversaw Fort Mill as the growing district was elevated from a 3A school to 5A, the largest classification in S.C high school sports.
“Fort Mill High is grateful for Coach Susi’s commitment and service to the Fort Mill High football program and larger school culture since 2007,” said Fort Mill Principal Dee Christopher. “Coach Susi has been an important mentor to countless young men during his time at Fort Mill. He cares deeply for his players and their development as men and I will personally miss Coach Susi and his impact at our school.”
Fort Mill’s football program was struggling before Susi arrived. The Jackets haven’t won a playoff game since 1998. This past season, they lost to Hillcrest in the first round.
Susi was part of the split that occurred when Nation Ford opened and Fort Mill football, with a smaller pool of athletes to draw on, saw some lean years on the field after that. He said now is a good time for him to step aside and “give someone else a shot.”
Just how Fort Mill and Nation Ford will be affected by the opening of Catawba Ridge is unknown because the high school attendance lines for the schools have yet to be finalized.