Stewart chosen to lead Fox Creek football
NORTH AUGUSTA — Fox Creek High School has a new football coach, and he won’t need much time to get adjusted to the local athletic scene. The Predators’ pick, Belvedere native LaFayette Stewart, was approved Monday evening at a meeting of the school’s board of directors.
Stewart, who was both a football and basketball standout for North Augusta High School, went on to become an assistant coach there, and was a scholarship player at Carson-Newman University (2002-07), in Tennessee, earning a degree in business administration.
He served Carson-Newman as a defensive lineman listed at 6-0 and 230 pounds. Most recently, he served at North Augusta as assistant football coach, teaching the linebackers. His wife, Anya, is a guidance counselor at North Augusta High School.
“I love what the game of football teaches young men ... about working together as a team to achieve a greater goal,” the coach said, adding that he has a couple of themes in mind for the road ahead at Fox Creek. For life off the football field, he mentioned “MSPU,” for the words “manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift,” and for football action, the idea is “RTI,” for “relentless, tough and intelligent.”
Stewart, in Aiken County’s public schools, has been a global career development facilitator working at the district level, and will serve in that same role specifically for Fox Creek, in addition to his coaching role. “The gist of it is, everything that’s dealing with college and career readiness for the student, I will be helping and assisting with.”
Among those commenting on Stewart’s background Monday was Rick Meyer, a longtime Yellow Jacket booster. “LaFayette brought a lot of energy to the sidelines at North Augusta High School. He’s a very vocal and exuberant leader. He’s ready to take on a head coaching job,” he said.
“He brings a lot of energy, and he’s very knowledgeable in a lot of different areas,” said Jason Lynn, who has worked with Meyer as a part of the Yellow Jackets’ radio-broadcasting team.
“He’s great with the kids, and he’s good with discipline. I mean, kids really respond to him. He can get the kids to buy into what he’s doing. He’s a young and hungry coach,” Lynn added. “He’s going to be able to get a good response. I think he’ll be able to get that immediately with them.”
Stewart’s background also includes life as a student at Clearwater Elementary and Paul Knox Middle. He becomes the Predators’ third head football coach, succeeding Derrick Quinn, the current athletic director, who was also the head football coach from 2016 through 2018. The football program was begun in 2005 by Russell Schneider, who was the head coach through 2015.
Stewart, referring to his own priorities, said, “We want to be a team of no excuses, no regret, so that’s how we’ll approach everything.”
Fox Creek, a charter school in Edgefield County, was established in the 2004-05 school year, largely to serve families in the Merriwether area, including some who expressed particular concern about students having to spend several hours each week on a bus traveling to and from Strom Thurmond High School. It began with 92 students, according to at least one account, and now has 665. Josh Trahan is the current principal.