Mill Creek hired from within to fill its athletic and activities director vacancy.
Steven Hardegree, an assistant principal at the high school, will lead the athletic program as the replacement for Shannon Jarvis, who stepped down to become head football coach at his alma mater, Elbert County.
Hardegree is heading into his 28th year as a Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educator and his 14th as an administrator. He has worked at Mill Creek since it opened, first serving as head of the social studies department and as head golf coach before going into administration.
“Once Shannon decided he was leaving, we looked at who was out there and talked to our coaches,” Mill Creek principal Jason Lane said. “We interviewed Steven and the coaches were overwhelmingly supportive of him with his background as a teacher and coach at Mill Creek. He gives us that continuity piece. … He’s very involved with athletics and he has great relationship skills with all the coaches. He’s very supportive and he has a passion and a love for Mill Creek, and that’s important.”
Hardegree is a graduate of Shiloh High, where he played baseball and football. He began with GCPS as an assistant baseball and football coach at Berkmar, working there for six years. He spent five years as an assistant baseball coach at Collins Hill before he was hired at Mill Creek by then-principal Jim Markham, his former boss at Berkmar.
One of his major roles at Mill Creek has been as the longtime discipline coordinator, but he is excited about returning to athletics.
“I’ve been at Mill Creek since it opened and it’s really the people who I will be working with I’m excited about,” Hardegree said. “In my opinion, we have an all-star cast of coaches in every sport. We’ve had some people that have been there since we’ve opened as well. It really is about the head coaches, the assistant coaches. And we’ve always had great kids. They work hard in the offseason and during the season. It’s really just the relationships with all those folks, being that gap between school leadership down to the coaches, making sure we provide what the coaches need and make sure the kids have what they need to make sure they can be successful.”
Hardegree takes over the Hawks’ athletic program during an interesting time with the return of athletes during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the school’s stadium getting an artificial turf surface this summer.
“The COVID-19 thing has been a huge challenge for everybody,” Hardegree said. “Our coaches are working very, very hard with the protocol the county has set up to keep our kids as safe as possible. So logistically getting the kids in, screened by the trainers. Our trainers are doing a phenomenal job. Getting them back into sports is a huge deal. There’s a lot of apprehension from everybody not knowing what the fall looks like. But I think we’re all hoping for the best.”