AIKEN, S.C . (WJBF) – After more than two decades leading high school football programs in the CSRA, Dwayne Garrick has been hired as the head football coach at Aiken High School.

Garrick comes to Aiken from Barnwell High School, where he led the Warhorses to three region championships in eight years during his second stint at the school. Under Garrick, Barnwell went 83-22 with trips to the state championship game in 2018 and 2019.

“It’s a spot that I’ve always had my eye on,” Garrick said in a news release from Aiken County Public Schools. “It will take some work. But, with the type of players there and coaches already in place, the program can be very very successful.”

“He was the top choice for all of us,” said Aiken High School Principal Alisa Hamrick, “and really stood out to the players.”

Garrick will be charged with turning around an Aiken program that has finished the season with a winning record just once since 2008. He replaces Olajuwon Paige, a former Hornet standout player, who went 6-30 in four years as head coach.

Garrick first served the Warhorses as an Assistant Football Coach in 1997, and was promoted to Head Coach and Athletic Director in 1999. He left Barnwell in 2002 for a position as the Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at Hillcrest High School. He went on to serve in similar capacities at Dorman, Williston-Elko and River Bluff, before returning to Barnwell as the school’s Head Football Coach in 2015. In 2010 he led Williston-Elko to a region championship and appearance in the state championship game.

Garrick attended Presbyterian College, where he studied history. He gained certification as a secondary Social Studies teacher in 1990, as he also pursued a graduate degree at SC State University. While at State, he coached the Bulldogs’ inside and outside linebackers and served as a special assistant to the defensive coordinator.

Among numerous coaching accolades are Region 5 Coach of the Year (2018-2019), CSRA Coach of the Year (2018), South Carolina Football Coaches Association (SCFCA) Class A Upper State Coach of the Year (2010), Class A Division II Coach of the Year, and High School Sports Report (HSSR) Class A Division II Coach of the Year (2009).

He has also been named coach of several post-season teams, including South Carolina’s Head Coach in WJBF’s Border Bowl (2018), North-South All Star Game Head Coach (2018), and Shrine Bowl Assistant Coach (2010).

“Dedication, commitment, teamwork, all of those things will be big for our players,” Garrick said in the release. “Athletics will be a stepping stone for these young men as far as life is concerned. We’ll teach those things on the football field that will help them achieve success in their lives.”

“He really seemed like a college coach,” said Hamrick. “His coaching philosophy and commitment to helping players find success by overcoming obstacles in the sport and in their lives is really impressive.”

Garrick will officially begin his new role as head coach of the Aiken Hornets on June 10th.

Aiken County Public Schools contributed to this report.