Fidler named to Touchstone Energy Bowl coaching staff

By Thomas Grant Jr.

There’s plenty of happenings around the “Eagles Nest” under the watch of Shane Fidler.

As the athletics director at Airport High School, he’s helped oversee the facility improvements to assist the progress of the sports programs. This is especially evident with the success of spring sports such as baseball which enjoyed the benefits of a new indoor practice field.

As head football coach, Fidler has provided a jolt of enthusiasm in his first full year. The Eagles finished with a winning season, the junior varsity program is showing potential as a “feeder’ program to the varsity and more field upgrades such as a new Jumbotron scoreboard and a refurbished weight room are on the horizon.

Fidler still finds time to fulfill a career goal. He was selected as an assistant coach to the South team at the ‘Touchstone Energy Bowl set for Dec.6 at Doug Shaw Stadium in Myrtle Beach.

Fidler will serve as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“Obviously, you get chosen based on experience or when it is your turn essentially,” he said. “Now, to be one of those guys to get to coach the best players in our state for a week, it’s going to be really fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

The early part of this year saw Fidler attend various Carolina Coaching Combine camps as he scouted potential senior selections. As spring practice begins for the Eagles, Fidler creates Bowl organizers like director Neal Smith with “creating a structure” that would not overwhelm him through the year.

Shrine Bowl head coach Reggie Kennedy of Manning, formerly of Irmo, recently brought all of the All-Star game coaches together to further simplify the selection process. An invitation-only combine set for July 13 at Airport High School will allow them to scout over 120 players.

Holding an event at Airport not only gets Fidler an opportunity to highlight the school and facilities but will allow him to work on the same page as the Shrine Bowl coaches in terms of selecting players.

As for this year’s Airport team, Fidler is in it for the long haul. He understands the process of building an elite program is long but believes past success has taught him this is the right way.

Airport returns leading tackler linebacker Bryant Cherry, who’s received interest from Wofford and an on-campus visit by South Carolina State. He leads a linebacking corps which has a mix of experience with fellow senior Montrell Keys and newcomers like Justin Connors.

On offense, Airport is expected to have a quarterback battle with rising sophomore Talon Harlin and rising freshman Jay Eady. Both will have a healthy wide receiver Avery Jones as a target and play behind an offensive line that returns center Parker Hudson and tackle Ben Humphries.

Airport opens the season on Aug. 23 at May River and plays its home opener against Orangeburg-Wilkinson on Sept. 6.