River Bluff hires new AD, successor to Savitz in boys soccer

By Thomas Grant Jr.

Athletic leadership will have a different look at River Bluff High School.

Like fellow Lexington School District One school Gilbert, it will have one person serving as an athletics director only. Andrew Peckham was approved for the position at Tuesday’s district meeting.

“I am thrilled to be here in The Swamp on this beautiful day and it’s truly a great day to be a Gator,” he said during Wednesday’s introductory press conference.

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, he takes over for C. Blair Harden who will continue to serve as head football coach.

Peckham comes over from Fox Creek High School, where he’s currently the assistant athletics director. He played a role in the program’s growth from Class A to 3A in assisting with the addition of sports such as tennis, lacrosse, track and field and competitive cheer.

Most notable is Peckham’s 17 seasons as boys’ basketball coach. The school’s winningest coach, he led the Predators to four region titles and the 2015 Class A final.

Peckham previously worked at Airport, Hammond School, and Covenant Classical Christian School. Before accepting the job, Peckham already had a connection to the school as his wife Hannah is a math teacher.

As River Bluff enters its second decade of existence, Peckham hopes to further that success “for decades to come” by “building and fostering” relationships with the coaches and players.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I’m walking into a really good situation,” he said. “The culture here athletically is outstanding. Fall, winter, spring sports here is very competitive…and the standard here is region championships, state championship in all the sports here at River Bluff. Me coming in, I’m just looking to kind of come in and continue further that culture, further that excellence as we go forward.”

Thad Miller – Boys soccer coach

River Bluff did not look far to find the successor to coaching legend Phil Savitz.
Current assistant head coach Thad Miller will be promoted to the top position for the next school year.

Savitz, the all-time state leader in career victories and championships won at both Irmo and River Bluff, is retiring at the end of this season. He’s served as the Gators’ head coach since its inception.

“I’ve been blessed for 25 years to work with (Savitz),” Miller said.

Miller first played for Savitz at Irmo, before returning as an assistant following coaching stints at Brookland-Cayce and Chapin. After 15 years, Miller followed Savitz to River Bluff where they’ve overseen the program’s growth.

“I take pieces of it and things that work, use them for myself,” he said. “At the same time, I get a chance to continue the culture, continue the excellence that we’ve worked hard together as we’ve worked together implementing some of what he’s put in as a head coach.”

This season has seen Miller serve in a “co-head coaching” capacity with Savitz. This goes in line with the coaches having a “partnership” role with Savitz in terms of the decision-making.

Over the past two seasons, Miller will often take the lead role in conducting training drills at practices. This has helped establish leadership credibility with the team which, in turn, should help with the winning continuity built by Savitz.

Miller also brings 15 years of experience as a coaching educator for the United States Soccer Federation. In addition, he’s a U.S. Youth Soccer National Coach for the Olympic Development Program.

The River Bluff boys are currently 2-0 in Region 4-5A. It’s next four region matches are on the road, starting March 26 at Dutch Fork.

Garrett Roberts – Boys’ cross-country head coach

The interim label was officially taken off Garrett Roberts.

Having served in that capacity for boys’ cross-country as well as assistant for track and field, Roberts is now in charge of the former program.

“I think this program can do some special things over the next few things,” he said. “I want to help the program get to that next level. I believe River Bluff; we should be competing for state championships every single year. No doubt about it and I want to help the program get to that level and I want to help the guys on the team believe that they’re fully capable of doing that and help them commit to that hard work and commit to that standard of excellence that we see a lot with all the sports programs here.”

Roberts previously served as head cross country coach at Ardrey Kell High School in North Carolina from 2018-21. His teams won SoMeck 7 Conference championships in 2019 and 2020 and North Carolina 4-A West Region team championships the same year.

Roberts also helped the Knights’ track team win the 2020 region title and a fourth-place finish at the state championships. He also previously coached at Science Hill High School in Tennessee from 2012-18 and led the long-distance team to an individual state championship in the 1600 meters in 2017.

Photo by Thomas Grant Jr.

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