LAURINBURG — Seeking a fresh face to jump-start its girls’ soccer program, Scotland High has hired Michigan native and recent college graduate Abbi Gairer as head coach.
The Scotland County Board of Education officially approved the hire at its regular meeting Monday.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Gairer said. “I’ve been playing for a quiet a long time — it’s going to be a different take on looking at soccer as a coach as opposed to being a player but I’m definitely up for it and I’m excited to take it on.”
Gairer, who hails from Canton, Michigan where she attended Salem High School and played all four years as a varsity soccer player, takes over for Danny Gallagher. Gallagher will continue to coach the boys’ soccer team.
Gairer graduated from Grand Valley State University this spring, and this will be her first head coaching job at the high school level. In the past, she has coached youth soccer and assisted with high school soccer practices. While at Grand Valley, she played on intramural and co-ed soccer teams.
Gairer said she was always interested in applying to schools out of state, and mentioned Scotland principal Greg Batten reached out to her during the application process and gauged her interest in a teaching position as well as the opening in the soccer program. She is scheduled to teach ninth-grade World History.
The Scots finished 3-12 overall and 3-7 in the Southeastern Conference last season, but are set to return two all-conference performers in Emma Gray Beacham and Kaitlin Lewis. Deanna McLaurin, who was the only other Scot named to the all-SEC squad, graduated in June.
“I’m looking forward to helping kids build up a team — that’s something that has been talked about quite a bit,” Gairer said. “I know there is a lot of talent on this team and I hope as a coach I’m able to help the girls play together as one and maybe spark some more interest in the sport as well … just make it fun, have a good time with it, and win.”
Gairer said she expects to complete the move to North Carolina next week, and said she’s overwhelmed by the positive reception she’s already received from members of the program.
“So far everyone has been amazing,” Gairer said. “I was not expecting such welcoming arms, so I’m just really excited to be a part of the community and help out with the soccer team and also be in the classroom as well. It’s going to be great, and I look forward to it.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.