New River Bluff athletic director, coaches seeking success in program's next chapter

Posted 3/25/24

River Bluff High School named Andrew Peckham as the school’s new athletic director, continuing a recent trend of shifting the responsibilities away from head football coaches. 

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New River Bluff athletic director, coaches seeking success in program's next chapter


River Bluff High School named Andrew Peckham as the school’s new athletic director on March 20, continuing a recent trend of shifting the responsibilities away from head football coaches.  

Peckham replaces previous athletic director Blair Hardin, who will stay on as the Gators’ football coach. Peckham was previously the boys basketball coach and an assistant athletic director at Fox Creek High School.  

“Career-wise, I wanted to pursue being an athletic director, and so obviously when I saw River Bluff was going to split the positions from football and AD, and I saw the opening in early February, my eyes kind of lit up,” Peckham said. “I just couldn't think of a better school.” 

The hiring is the second this year where a Lexington One school has split the position of athletic director and football coach. Gilbert did this last month as part of a new hiring plan in the district.  

“I think it's a really good move, and let me tell you why. I think especially at River Bluff, being the athletic director, it's a lot. There's a lot on your plate, and it's a lot to manage,” Peckham said. “I think with coach Hardin now being able to focus in on the football program, more so than the entire athletic department, I think that's going to enable him to have even more success with those guys in that program. And I think being the AD, and not coaching a sport, it enables me to really have more of a bird's eye view.” 

The rest of the schools in Lexington One are expected to follow Gilbert and River Bluff in the next few years, joining other notable schools in the county outside of Lexington One with split positions, including Batesburg-Leesville, Gray Collegiate, Irmo and Swansea. 

Peckham already has ties to River Bluff and Lexington County, despite spending the last 11 years at Fox Creek. He lives in Lexington with his wife and kids and would make the nearly hour-long commute to North Augusta.  

The Peckham family had already been proud members of the River Bluff community before Peckham’s hiring. His wife, Hannah, is a math teacher at the school, which allowed Peckham to get a feel for what he was signing up for before even applying. 

“We’re already fully infiltrated into the gator community,” Peckham said. “Just to be a part of it now, myself, being there, working there full time, is just taking it to another level.” 

While it was only just recently announced that he would be the new athletic director, Peckham has begun reviewing and familiarizing himself with the River Bluff athletic department. He plans to meet with all of his coaches over the next few weeks and learn more about how he can help them.  

Overall, he feels the department is heading in a positive trajectory and believes there is room to improve it even more.  

“We're already very competitive across the board at River Bluff, if you go sport by sport, as far as just success,” Peckham said. “I think visionary-wise, it's just these 10 years of success they've had just expand on that even further.” 

Other things Peckham wants to achieve are increasing alumni participation and getting more kids athletic opportunities in college.  

“The school's only been around since 2013, but I'm huge on getting alumni to either give back or to have opportunities to come back and be a part of events,” he said.  

Peckham says he will have a good group in his corner helping him navigate his first head athletic director job. A big resource will be Blair Hardin, the school’s previous athletic director, who is staying on as football coach.  

“I’m looking forward to working with him, and his mentality towards me and his willingness to assist me,” Peckham said. “He's got a lot of expertise over his years in athletics.” 

Before setting any other more complicated, long-term goals, Peckham wants to conclude his survey for the coaches. He is keeping his mind open and is willing to listen and learn, traits he thinks are essential for success.  

“You got to be a lifelong learner. That's the only way you're going to grow,” he said. “We have to have a growth mindset, that even though they've done a lot of things right and the school has done so well, we want to still be ever growing, ever learning at all times to continue to be the best we can.” 

Gators name new soccer, cross country coach  

The Gators also added two new head coaches to their program on March 20.  

The school looked within and hired Garrett Roberts and Thad Miller as the next boys cross country and soccer coaches.  

Miller will take over the boys soccer program from hall-of-fame coach Phil Savitz. Miller was an assistant at River Bluff and an All-American player for Savitz at Irmo before playing college ball at South Carolina under Mark Berson.  

“I’m just a continuation of Phil Savitz,” Miller said. “I’ve been blessed for 25 years to have the opportunity to work with him. We’re going to continue that tradition. He’ll be there.” 

Miller’s campaign as head of the soccer program will begin after the end of this season. 

Roberts removed the interim title next to his name and was announced as the full-time head cross country coach after filling the role on a short-term basis.  

Before coming to River Bluff, Roberts was at the helm of Ardrey Kell’s cross country program in Charlotte, N.C. He led his team to multiple conference titles and region championships.  

“I think this program can do some special things over the next few years,” Roberts 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.” 

River Bluff High School, Lexington School District One, Andrew Peckham, Thad Miller, Garrett Roberts, River Bluff soccer, River Bluff Cross Country, Phil Savitz


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