Quigley to retire

North Myrtle Beach High School Athletics Director Joe Quigley stands with his wife Janet at the 2020 Class 4A football state championship game. He is set to retire after 15 years leading the Chiefs’ athletic programs. 

Joe Quigley looked back at the nine-year span in which North Myrtle Beach needed six different boys basketball coaches and recognized the anomaly.

It was so unlike the culture he had built as the Chiefs’ athletics director.

More often than not, the men and women Quigley hired were either in it for the long haul or got the type of offer that was too good to ignore. That philosophy was about temple building, and it began at the top.

Come this summer, there will be a different sports boss in charge of what he created. After months of planning and discussions, Quigley has formally stepped down as North Myrtle Beach’s athletics director, effective at the end of the school year.

“I love what I’m doing. In retrospect, I don’t feel bad about retiring,” Quigley said Monday. “I’ve been in education for 40 years. I’ve been an athletic director for 15. I’ve loved going to work. We’ll finish strong. I wanted to make sure it’s left in a situation where it’s ready for them to go.”

Quigley’s job has been posted through the Horry County Schools’ employment portal, and principal Teresa Todd said her only timeline is to possibly have someone in place to give Quigley’s replacement some acclimation time before his contract expires on June 30.

By that time, North Myrtle Beach could again see even more of the success that has become commonplace under Quigley’s 15-year reign.

Since he was hired prior to the 2006-2007 school year, the Chiefs have won state championships in volleyball and finished as state runners up in wrestling and football. All of of the school’s varsity teams have won at least one region title in that span, while just about every program has qualified for the playoffs over and over again.

More than 100 athletes have gone on to college sports. And north of 80% of the school’s senior student-athletes posted grade-point averages of 3.5 or above the last two years.

Capital improvements have also been soaring. Thanks to contributions from both the district and private donors, the school has made significant upgrades to its weight room and playing surfaces. Most visibly, there was a much-needed drainage project and the state-of-the-art LED lighting system installed at the football field. Those will be chased by a rubberized track around it this spring.

Top to bottom, it looks a whole lot different than it did prior to Quigley’s arrival.

“The biggest thing that we had to do was one, we had to change our teams in terms of accountability for the whole year,” football coach Matt Reel said. “We had some good coaches here, but it wasn’t across the board. There wasn’t the consistency when a player would leave one sport and go to another. Joe wanted to get the right people in place that he wanted. It wasn’t just about wins and losses, but how are you affecting those kids’ lives when they’re not playing for you. … It’s going to be a very sought-after job, because of where it’s at and we’re not too shoddy with athletics right now.”

Much of that had to do with a player-coach handbook that he put out during that first year. It addressed expectations of both, and not following it wasn’t an option.

“He’s been the backbone of our athletics programs for many years,” Todd said. “There was a time when our athletic program wasn’t the greatest. It’s grown tremendously under him. I don’t know that there was anything he couldn’t pull off. He’s dedicated. Whatever he’s set his mind to, I can’t think of any time I didn’t have confidence in him.”

Quigley has been heavily involved in Little River, of course, but statewide affairs, as well. He has been influential as a region chair, counseled younger athletics directors at other schools and had no issue being vocal during the ongoing conversations related to COVID-19.

In June, Quigley pushed the South Carolina High School League to use stronger language in its return-to-play protocols. 

He was named South Carolina’s Athletics Director of the Year in 2016 by the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association and in 2017 by the South Carolina Athletics Directors Association. He has been named his region’s athletics director of the year seven times (and will likely add another this year), has been a member of the SCHSL Executive Board and Committee and president of the South Carolina Athletics Administrators Association.

Quigley will take that decorated resume with him into retirement, something that will allow him to spend more time with his four grandkids (and a fifth expected in February). He said he will help the school as needed moving forward, but it’s time for him to close the book on his Chiefs career.

He does so with pride.

“I love to win just like everyone else. That’s why we do what we do. For me, what you’re really trying to do is develop that young lady or young man to be successful for the rest of their lives,” he said. “We’re in a good place here. I’ve been offered other jobs. But the grass was greenest at North Myrtle Beach.”

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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