Pike Liberal Arts AD Steven Kilcrease leaving for Lee-Scott Academy

Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 4, 2012

Pike Liberal Arts School head coach Steven Kilcrease talks to his players during practice on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010 in Troy, Ala. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

After guiding the Pike Liberal Arts athletic program for five years, athletic director and head football coach Steven Kilcrease informed his team Monday morning that he has accepted a position at Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn.

“It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” a subdued Kilcrease said in a telephone interview. “Troy is home to my family and I have strong feelings for Pike and the community and that made the decision more difficult.”

Pike Liberal Arts headmaster Ceil Sikes said Kilcrease, a 1994 graduate of Pike, informed her of his decision in a meeting Monday morning.

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“It’s difficult anytime you make that kind of decision,” Sikes said. “I know it had to be difficult for him because of his family and ties to Troy.”

Sikes went on to say that she had been in touch with Pike Liberal Arts school board chairman John Ramage and no potential replacements have been discussed.

Pike Liberal Arts has a school board meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sikes expects the athletic director vacancy to be among the main topics.

While Sikes says she is sad to see Kilcrease go, filling the vacant position will become a top priority.

“It has to be done in a timely manner,” Sikes said. “We will start to look around and take input from different people on finding a replacement.”

Sikes said that since the announcement Monday morning she had been contacted at least eight times by interested parties.

Kilcrease led the Patriots to a 42-16 record on the gridiron including two AISA state championships in 2008 and 2009. The team was 7-2 in the postseason under the coach. Pike also won a girl’s basketball state title under Kilcrease in the 2009-2010 season.

“The kids have worked hard for me,” Kilcrease said. “When I came five years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I have been so blessed by how the people that support this program have supported me and my family.”

Prior to Kilcrease’s arrival, Pike’s program was in disarray. In 2000 when Dwight Ward stepped down after 22 seasons at the helm, Pike Liberal Arts hired three coaches in six years and experienced below average results.

The team was 3-7 in 2006 under interim head coach Rick Seymore, who took over after his son, Brian, left the program after just two seasons. From 2001-2003, Pike was a mediocre 12-17 under Mack Williams.

Other Patriot programs began flourishing after 2007. In Kilcrease’s time at Pike Liberal Arts the Patriots won championships in golf in 2009 and 2011 and baseball took the title this past season. The baseball team also played in the AISA State Championship Series in 2010 and 2011.

Kilcrease, who was an assistant football coach and head boy’s basketball coach at Lee-Scott from 2001-2006, will teach chemistry while serving as assistant football coach. Kilcrease said other coaching responsibilities could be assigned in the future.

Pike Liberal Arts has also agreed to terms with two coaches. Jason Taylor, formally with Fort Dale Academy in Greenville, will handle classroom duties and served as an assistant for the Fort Dale football program. Former Troy University assistant women’s basketball coach Craig Kennedy has been hired by Pike to take over the girl’s basketball program.