BE’s Paul Runey honored as SCAAA Athletic Director of the Year
As the athletic director at Bishop England High School, Paul Runey has done it all - from taking tickets to flipping burgers to laying sod at a new football stadium.
He wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve been there and I know what it takes,” said Runey, who has also coached five sports at BE in his 44 years at the school. “When I ask someone to do something, it’s something I’ve already done in the past.”
Runey oversees an athletic program that has gained national attention because of its accomplishments. His hard work, success, dedication and zest for his school were recently acknowledged when he was named the Class AAA Athletic Director of the Year in the Palmetto State. Runey received his award at the 26th Annual Spring Conference for Athletics, which was held March 10-14 at the Charleston Marriott. The event, hosted by the S.C. Athletic Administrators Association, was attended by close to 400 school principals and athletic directors.
“I think it’s a validation of our program,” Runey said. “We have dedicated coaches and talented athletes. That’s why we win. I would like to think I’m part of that.”
Runey graduated from Bishop England in May of 1974 and was a coach at the school a few months later, about the same time he enrolled at the College of Charleston. Bishop England was Runey’s first stop in the coaching profession and it will be his last.
“I always jumped at the chance to coach,” Runey said. “I never asked, ‘How much will I get paid or how many hours does it take?’”
Today, Runey coaches only one sport, the girls’ basketball team, which has excelled in the last decade. The Bishops lost to Ridgeland-Hardeville in the third round of the playoffs, a defeat that ended the team’s four year-reign as state champs. The Bishops have won 169 of their last 188 games.
But Runey’s biggest success just might be as athletic director. Former AD Jack Cantey hired Runey as the assistant AD, a position he held for 10 years. Runey was named the AD in time for the 1999-2000 academic year.
Runey’s promotion to the top spot came one year after the school’s move from Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston to Daniel Island. The Bishops’ sports teams finally had a campus where they could practice and play on, and that includes the football stadium.
Just how dedicated is Runey to his job? Ask his wife. Runey headed up a group, known as the “Sod Squad,” who laid all the turf at Jack Cantey Stadium on a day that happened to be the Runeys’ anniversary.
“I’ve done it all,” Runey said. “Working the concession stand, flipping burgers – things like that. I can even remember when Coach Cantey would get a group of us, and we would strip the floor in the old gym and then add a new coat of polyurethane.”
Runey’s time as a coach has been a plus for him as the school’s athletic director.
“I know what the coaches go through, I’ve been there,” Runey said. “There’s only so much you can do. Sometimes, I point out there are 24 hours in a day and they just have to figure out how to use them.”
Bishop England alum Jack Cantey, a former coach and athletic director for the school, was also honored at the SCAAA event, earning entry into the organization’s Hall of Fame.