By David Shelton Special to The Post and Courier

West Ashley girls soccer coach Drew McNeely, the longest tenured girls coach in the state, is stepping down from his post.

McNeely, who started the program at Middleton High School in 1989 and then transitioned to West Ashley with the merger of Middleton and St. Andrews in 2000, announced last week that he would not be coaching this spring.

Assistant Jennifer Timmerman will take over as the head coach for 2018 with McNeely aiding in the transition as needed.

“I admit it was quite difficult to hit send when I wrote the resignation letter,” McNeely said. “I owe so much to so many people who have assisted me along the way. I had great support from the administration, the parents, the community. It was a true soccer family from the rec leagues all the way through high school and I will certainly miss that.”

McNeely guided West Ashley to three Class AAAA state championships, winning back-to-back titles in 2002 and ’03, then adding a third in 2005.

“Thirty years, or whatever it is now, is a long time and I have to say I enjoyed every minute,” McNeely said. “For me it was never about wins and titles. Those things never drove me. It was all about the sport and the kids. I have been blessed to have been able to do what I love for so long in such a great place.”

McNeely said he is leaving the program in good hands. Timmerman has been with McNeely for the last six years.

“She is a wonderful person and a very capable coach,” McNeely said. “She will do a great job with the program. I will assist in any way I can but it will be from afar and quietly. This is her program now.”