Former Goose Creek High School assistant football and basketball coach Thomas McElveen was named the new varsity boys basketball coach at Fort Dorchester High School.
McElveen, whose oldest sons Jordan and Jeff graduated from GCHS in 2015 and 2017 after standout playing careers, replaces Jacob Smith. Smith stepped down after one season and ended up as the new boys basketball coach at Cane Bay High School.
“I want to thank (FDHS athletic director Steve LaPrad) for taking a chance on me by allowing me to coach basketball at this level,” said McElveen, who helped out with sub-varsity teams at GCHS from 2008-16. “I’m so excited for the opportunity to help these young men reach their highest potential and goals with sports and in life.”
McElveen, 42, brings 18 years of coaching experience to the position. McElveen was the head football coach for the Fort Dorchester B-team last fall and the Patriots finished undefeated.
“He has a variety of high-school coaching experience and has coached travel basketball,” LaPrad said. “He knows all the athletes in the area and I think he is a good fit for our basketball program.”
Fort Dorchester was 11-13 last winter and tied for second in Region 8-AAAAA. The Patriots lost to Goose Creek in the opening round of the playoffs.
Because the process of hiring Smith’s replacement carried into June, the Patriots missed out on open season workouts this summer. However, McElveen isn’t too concerned.
“I don’t feel like it will have a negative impact because a lot of the core kids are still playing travel basketball,” he said. “They are receiving good, quality coaching and are playing against good competition.”
While he has ideas on how to best help the 2019-20 Patriots succeed on the hardwood, McElveen hasn’t committed to a style until he gets a better feel for exactly what kind of talent he will have to work with.
“I have a certain style of play that I prefer but I’m not sure of the makeup of our team since I haven’t had the chance to see everybody,” he said. “I am going to change the culture of Fort Basketball. I want to get all the basketball players that don’t normally try out to come out and play for our school. I feel like our physicality, mental toughness and our competitive drive will separate us from other schools in and outside of our region.”
His youngest son, Justin, is a rising junior at Fort Dorchester and plays varsity football.
After graduating from GCHS in 2015, Jordan played basketball at Davis and Elkins College and Catawba College. He tallied more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds during his college career.
Jeff graduated from GCHS in 2017 and plays football at Furman.
McElveen works full time at NIWC as an IT Specialist and is a minister at Gospel Mission Apostolic Church.