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New head coaches at Richmond Hill High School announced

Kaitlin Bean has been hired as the new volleyball coach at Richmond Hill High School replacing Tori Wright who has relocated to North Carolina.

Bean is the fourth Wildcats coach hired this spring as she joins Hill Thomas, Kelly Anderson and Jillian Yontz as new coaches at the school which will be moving up to Class 7A this fall.

Wright, who was a Richmond Hill assistant coach under Valeri Orloff for two years, leaves after two seasons as head coach. She will be getting married in June and her fiancé works in Charlotte.

Under Wright the Wildcats posted a record of 46-26 which included a Region 2-6A championship last fall. Two years ago, she led the Wildcats to the third round of the state playoffs and this past season they advanced to the second round. As an assistant Wright was a part of teams which were 57-28 including the school’s first region championship in volleyball and trips to the Elite 8 and the Sweet 16.

Bean is the fourth coach in the last five seasons and she inherits a program that returns 13 players including a core group of standouts in rising seniors Akira Burt and Rory Schuler and a quartet of Ella Harper, Gwyneth Harper, Carson Reeves and Savannah Davis who all excelled as sophomores.

An Ohio native, Bean has been playing volleyball since age 11 when she started playing with the Cleveland Volleyball Company. While with Cleveland Volleyball she played on teams that won 14 Open National Championship and was runner-up in 18 Open National tournaments.

In high school she said she played four years at Cardinal High School in Middlefield on teams that won two Chagrin Valley Conference titles. As a senior she was the conference’s Most Valuable Player.

In four years at Ashland College Bean played on two Eagles teams that advanced to the NCAA tournament with the 2018 team going 25-7. After college she started her coaching career as an assistant at Kenston High School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and as a club coach for Cleveland Volleyball Company. She currently coaches with Club Savannah.

Earlier hires: Hill Thomas was excited. So was Kelly Anderson and Jillian Yontz. All three are new head coaches at Richmond Hill High School with Thomas, an assistant coach at Coffee County, taking over the baseball program, Anderson girls soccer and Yontz will coach cheer.

While Thomas will be moving to Richmond Hill from Douglas the other two will be standing pat. Anderson has been an assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach under Dorothy Biron the last three years while Yontz has been the cheer coach at the middle school for the last nine years.

Biron gave up coaching as she is expecting a child in July. The Wildcats were 18-3 this past season and won Region 2-6A in advancing to the Elite 8 of the state playoffs. Biron had a record of 37-9 including a 6-2 mark when the 2020 season was shut down due to COVID.

Yontz takes over for Amy Lewis who is leaving the area. The past two years the Wildcats finished in the top 10 in state competition.

The baseball job came open last fall when Scott Strickland resigned a month into the school year. Softball coach Chris Jenkins coached on an interim basis and led the team to a school record 24 wins and into the second round of the playoffs. Assistant athletic director Stacy Bennett, who coached baseball for nine years before moving into administration, said Thomas was selected out of a field of approximately two dozen applicants.

Thomas said he was urged to apply by a former college roommate Brandon Sharpe, who played at Glynn Academy.

“I was talking to Brandon about the job and he told me I should apply for it,” Thomas said. “He told me it was one of the best jobs in the state with a lot of tradition and community support. I didn’t think I would have a shot at it but I decided to toss my hat in the ring.”

Thomas played at Early County and Darton College before transferring to Georgia. Upon graduating he took a job as an assistant football coach at Coffee County Middle School and has been an assistant baseball coach the last two years.

“I kept up with their season through Game Changer and social media,” Thomas said. “I did my homework and was prepared when I interviewed.”

Anderson and her family moved to Richmond Hill three years ago from Columbus when her husband was transferred to Fort Stewart from Fort Benning. She taught middle school math for seven years in Columbus and is a math teacher at RHHS.

She has an outstanding soccer background having played four years varsity soccer in high school in Arizona before playing on nationally ranked teams at Mesa Community College. She went on to play at Texas.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the Richmond Hill High School Girl’s soccer program,” Anderson said. “I cherish the relationships built with our student-athletes, coaches, and parents through the game of soccer, and I look forward to creating more memories and opportunities for the girls.”

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