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Wardlaw Academy presented their new head football coach last Wednesday afternoon making the announcement in the school canteen before a large crowd of students, faculty, parents and friends. The well-kept secret was out of the bag when Headmaster Stan Whitlock walked into the room accompanied by Coach Mark Rodgers, recently the Head Football Coach at Ridge Spring-Monetta High School, now the new Head Coach at Wardlaw Academy. Headmaster Whitlock told all gathered for the announcement that he had sought a Head Coach who would teach the Patriots how to play the game of life and do things the right way. Whitlock said he found that guy in Coach Mark Rodgers.
Coach Rodgers is a product of The Ridge where he grew up and graduated from Ridge Spring-Monetta High School. Upon graduation from Lander University he began his coaching career at Ninety-Six High School. Stops at King Academy, Great Falls High School and Strom Thurmond High School preceded his return to his alma mater as the head coach.
Coach Mark Rodgers is known in South Carolina High School Football circles as a hardnosed, no frills, win with the basics style coach. During his 10 years at RS-M his teams were in the playoffs 8 times including one trip to the State Championship. Two of his players were selected for North-South All Star honors and 19 were offered opportunities to play at the next level.
Always a man of few words, Patriot Head Coach Rodgers stated, “I am very pleased to be at Wardlaw. Football coaches aren’t here just to teach football. I am going to try to teach them life, and I am excited for the new adventure. I can promise you I won’t get outworked.”
And so begins the next chapter in the Wardlaw SCISA Football Dynasty as Wardlaw Head Coach Mark Rodgers stands holding his young son Aiden with wife Josie and daughter Annalee by his side greeting his new football family.