LANDRUM — After spending the past eight years at Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA), Tripp Searcy is beginning a new chapter at Landrum Middle School, where he will serve as Athletic Director, PE teacher and the head coach of the boys basketball and girls volleyball programs.

“I am excited,” said Searcy. “Anytime you leave one school and go to a new school, there is a lot to learn. Especially going to a whole different state, there is even more to learn, so I am a little anxious, but definitely excited.”

Having been at LLCA for so long, Searcy said it did make it hard to leave.

“It was very tough,” he said. “I told them it had to be the right opportunity for me to even consider leaving. I didn’t think this situation would open this close to home, but it did.”

For Searcy, the hardest part was telling his basketball players.

“We did one more basketball workout once I knew I got the job,” he said. “It was tough telling the guys that I was leaving. That was by far the toughest part.”

It didn’t take him long to figure out that Landrum Middle School was a good fit.

“I have known the head coach at the varsity level for a couple years now,” he said. “I know they have a good program and it is a well respected school and district. District one is a highly thought of district in Spartanburg County. Any opening in this district is hard to come by, so I had to jump on it when it became available.”

Having worked in the education field for several years, Searcy says there is a lesson that he has learned over the years that he will always carry with him.

“Whether you’re coaching or teaching, it’s all about relationships,” he said. “That’s the thing that as a young coach and a young teacher that I didn’t fully understand. Once your players and students know you have their best interest at heart, they will follow you anywhere. It’s about building relationships and getting these young men and women to be the best version of themselves.”

Searcy, who graduated from R-S Central in 2004, has been around the game of basketball for a long time, playing for the Hilltoppers as well as coaching an AAU team and at Bishop McGuinness High School before taking over the LLCA program. Most recently, Searcy led the JV program to three straight Western Piedmont Athletic Conference Championships.

Searcy will make his coaching debut with the Cardinals in September when his volleyball team opens up play.