By Justin Jarrett
For the second year in a row, Battery Creek will have a new girls basketball coach next season.
The school announced last week it has hired veteran coach Lonnie Kluttz to take over the Dolphins’ girls hoops program after Anntionette Elam was not retained following her first season at the helm.
In Kluttz, the Dolphins have recruited a coach with a long and distinguished track record. He has spent more than 15 years coaching at every level from youth to college, including a four-year stint as a men’s assistant at Fort Valley State University and two-year runs as the head boys coach at Denmark-Olar High School and head girls coach at C.A. Johnson High School.
“We are excited to have Lonnie Kluttz join Battery Creek as the head girls basketball coach,” AD Sarah Hayes said. “He has the experience and determination to rebuild the program.”
Kluttz took over a rebuilding program at Denmark-Olar and had the Vikings trending in the right direction before leaving to get closer to home after his mother died and his father fell ill. He also guided C.A. Johnson’s girls to a quick rise, going from 2-6 in region play in his first season to 6-2 last season to capture the region title and Region Coach of the Year honors.
Kluttz cited a desire to move closer to his family’s Charleston-area roots as one reason for the jump to Battery Creek, but his decision to join the Dolphins also stems from the fact the program is just two years removed from going 18-6 and reaching the second round of the playoffs and returns a number of talented, young players.
“This allows me to assist in rebuilding a great program,” Kluttz said. “It appears that I will have a team with the potential to be great, and they will be able to grow together. What coach would not want an opportunity like this? I am very excited for the opportunity that Sarah Hayes and the Battery Creek administration have given me.“
Kluttz comes from a strong basketball lineage — his father, Lonnie Sr., was a standout at North Carolina A&T University before being drafted by the Chicago Bulls and playing briefly in the now-defunct American Basketball Association.
Kluttz has also coached baseball, softball, and cross country, keeping with Battery Creek’s recent trend of hiring head coaches with diverse coaching backgrounds. Kluttz will serve as a social studies teacher at Robert Smalls International Academy.