River Bluff’s Savitz named National Soccer Coach of the Year
South Carolina is a football state, for sure. But over the years, it also has grown into a national hotbed of top young soccer talent.
Helping lead the way has been River Bluff High School head boys’ soccer coach Philip B. Savitz, who recently was honored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as the 2016 National Coach of the Year for High School Boys in the Large Public School category.
Savitz, who has coached soccer for more than three decades in the state, will accept his award January 13 in Los Angeles, during the 70th annual NSCAA Convention.
When announcing the award to his staff, River Bluff Principal Luke Clamp stated: “We are humbled and honored to work with Phil and to bear witness to his amazing leadership and dedication to student athletes and the sport of soccer.”
Inducted into the South Carolina Soccer Coaches Association’s inaugural Hall of Fame class on June 15, 2007 and inducted into the 2012 South Carolina Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Savitz joined River Bluff High School in 2013 when the school opened.
While coaching at RBHS, his Gators have won 11 playoff games, are undefeated in region play at 32-0, and have posted a combined record of 66-8. The first two years they reached both the 3A Upper State and 4A Lower State Championship Games and were the 4A State Champions in their third year.
In his 37th year of coaching high school soccer, Savitz holds a career record of 700-91-6 over the past 36 years. In fact, he has recorded more wins than any other high school soccer coach in the history of soccer in South Carolina.
USA Today and NSCAA have ranked his teams nationally numerous times in their final polls, including five times in the top five. His teams have won a record 15 4A State Championships and appeared in state finals 24 times. Twice his teams won four consecutive state championships from 1987–1990 and 1995–1998, an honor held only by Coach Savitz’s teams in 4A.
Soccer players under his leadership have been named State Player of the Year 14 times and many players have gone on to have successful collegiate soccer careers. Academically, Savitz’s teams have received the NSCAA Team Academic award for achievement in the classroom many times.
Coach Savitz began his career by serving as a graduate assistant to Mark Berson at the University of South Carolina for two years prior to beginning his teaching and coaching career. Before joining RBHS, he taught and coached at Irmo High School in District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties for 33 years.
Supporting the programs he coaches is truly a family affair. His wife, Jan, and daughter, Erin, rarely miss a game. His son, Zack, played for his dad at IHS and is a long-time volunteer assistant with his teams.