WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The last two months have been rocky, to say the least, for Kevin and Emily Heise. However, they were ready to put it all behind them on Tuesday.
The coaching couple will take over the head soccer coaching duties at Gray Collegiate Academy ending an emotional roller coaster ride for the two.
"It's been a whirlwind of emotions the past couple of months," said War Eagles head girls soccer coach Emily Heise. "I would be lying if I told you it wasn't one of the hardest things we've faced – me individually as a coach and with Coach Heise, my husband – with everything going on with him."
Kevin, the former Brookland-Cayce boys' soccer coach was placed on administrative leave and later resigned after an incident inside a classroom on February 9.
"It's been my life," said War Eagles head boys soccer coach Kevin Heise. "There's no question about it. My whole adult since I was 18 years old coaching the JV team, to 19 turning 20 coaching the varsity team. This has been my adult life at 46 years old. It's all I've ever known. So, the first month was excruciating. There's no question about it and I felt like there were some forces there that maybe I wasn't going to be retained in some form or fashion and that's okay. I came to terms with [it] sooner maybe than others did, but that's okay."
Kevin Heise's resignation ended a 28-year run coaching soccer at B-C. Although his tenure at the school is over, he said Brookland-Cayce will always mean a lot to him.
"It's one of those things. It's part of life," Kevin said. "B-C will always have its place in my heart. There's always the B-C I'll remember and treasure. The last few years or months hadn't been what we wanted and, like they say, time heals all wounds. I would hope it would soften some of the hurt that maybe we felt, the families felt, our soccer players felt over the last bit. But it'll come out in due time and I will say this. B-C will always have a treasured place for me."
Now, the Heises face a new challenge in helping the Gray Collegiate soccer programs reach new heights. Emily now leads the girls' soccer team that finished 10-8-1 on the year. However, before she can focus her attention on her new program, she'll lead the Lady Bearcats into battle for the Class AAA state title against Indian Land on Saturday.
"I'm very excited," Emily said. "Obviously, I want to get through Saturday with my girls. First and foremost, Brookland-Cayce soccer is what I'm concentrating on today, tomorrow, through Saturday. We've got a goal in mind that we set in October and we want to finish that. However, I can't help but be ecstatic in regards to the opportunities that I have at Gray Collegiate Academy working for a great group of people that want the students to succeed, want the student-athletes to succeed. I can't be more ecstatic."
Kevin takes over the school's boys' soccer team which reached the first round of the Class AA playoffs before finishing the year with a 6-10 record. Although the season is months away, he is looking forward to helping his new players grow.
"You're looking at, basically, a first-year AA program and look what we're surrounded by -- River Bluff two and a half miles away, Brookland-Cayce six miles away, the Lexingtons," Kevin said. "It's just amazing the soccer in this area and what there is to compete with. That's why I think we can be good soon. It's because we've got this competition. You've just got to be involved in it. You've got to play in it. You've got to be a part of that. These kids, they need to play soccer, they need to be involved in the off season program and the club. That's how you get good. They're just no cutting corners. You've got to do the work and we've got to find 11 kids willing to do the work."
Both coaches are anxious to get started with their new programs and they are just as excited to have each other at the same school to share these experiences together.
"All I can say is it's a blessing," Kevin said. "I mean it is a blessing and you've got to think that things, again, happen for a reason and for us to get to start a journey together that, hopefully, 26 years from now, we're having a similar conversation that I'm retiring and everything else. We're in this for the long haul. We want to build."