MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Ready to lead the Rebels into the future.
Matt Bess has spent the last seven years coaching at South Gallia High School, whether on the baseball diamond, basketball court or cross country course. Now, the Class of 2000 SGHS graduate will have a chance to impact all Rebel sports, after being approved as Athletic Director by the Gallia County Board of Education in July.
“I’m excited that I got this opportunity,” Bess said. “I’m looking forward to the next several years of building our sports program up to what I think it’s capable of.”
After coaching the freshman boys basketball for a season, Bess has served as an assistant coach for the varsity girls squad ever since. Bess was the varsity baseball coach for four seasons, from 2016-to-2019, and also served as varsity cross country assistant for one season.”
Bess resigned both his current coaching gigs in order to focus on his new role as athletic director.
“It’s not that I don’t like coaching, but now I have my hands involved in every sport that we have here,” Bess said. “I graduated from South Gallia, I came back to teach, to me, it just felt like a natural fit once I discussed it with Mr. Shamblin and my wife, Amanda. It’s what I needed to do to build the brand of South Gallia.”
Bess noted a smooth transition from Kent Wolfe, who was athletic director at SGHS for the last four seasons.
“The transition hasn’t been bad,” Bess said. “(Wolfe) had a lot of the stuff already done, so I haven’t had to do a whole lot of scheduling, he had most of that complete.”
Along with learning the financial side of running an athletic department, Bess will be in charge of preparing the Rebels to transition from the Tri-Valley Conference to the Southern Ohio Conference following the 2022-23 school year.
“That transition from the TVC to the SOC is going to be a big part of the next couple years,” said Bess. “I think one advantage is going to be travel-wise. The travel won’t be as much, there might be 1-or-2 long trips, but it won’t be as bad. I think size-wise we’re the smallest in the TVC right now, and when we get to SOC we’ll be in the middle.”
Bess also mentioned his support from current and former athletic directors around the area, including Jack James, Adam Clark, Richard Stephens and Rusty Webb.
“They’ve have been more than helpful,” Bess said. “They’ve been reaching out, saying ‘congratulations and if you need anything, give us a holler, because we’ve been there, we’ve been through the beginning, so if you need anything, we’ll help you out the best we can.’”
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.