When Kevin and Emily Heise were looking around for their next jobs, working together wasn't a prerequisite.
For the past two years, the couple was in charge of both programs at Brookland-Cayce High School. But when Kevin Heise was placed on administrative leave in February leading to his April resignation, Emily Heise knew she would be following her husband out the door.
The two were contacted by Gray Collegiate Academy and Tuesday morning, they were two of four new head coaches introduced at the school which currently competes on the Class 2A level. The good news for the two is that they won't have to leave the area.
"We are West Columbia-Cayce kids," said Emily Heise.
"Me and Kevin grew up in Cayce. We have a lot of family and friends (in the area)."
While the Heises would have preferred to stay on at their alma mater, the reception at GCA has convinced them this is the right choice for this time.
"The first day I walked throught those doors for my interview, I got handshakes from all the employees here and the teachers who work here," she said.
"It just made you feel good. It made you feel want to be a part of a big family."
Her husband, Kevin, who had been coaching at Brookland-Cayce since 1991, says he noticed during his interview process the atmosphere at the school was similar to his days as a student at USC.
"I know it sounds cliche but the collegiate part of Gray Collegiate is what stood out for me during this whole process," he said.
"Gray 'Collegiate' Academy - I don't think they can emphasize that word enough because that's what it felt like I was walking in to. I go to Cafe Gray and it felt like I was at a college student union. Yeah, kids are talking but they're sitting in there, they're doing their work. They're engaged and maintaining and I was just impressed by it and I'll tell you the other thing that stuck out to me was - and it's almost campy or homey - but the atmosphere here is everybody wants to shake your hand, they want to give you a hug, they want to give you a fist bump. (Principal) Dr. (Brian) Newsome calls the students by their name. It's just been super impressive to see how things work inside these halls."
Emily Heise still has one game left to coach at Brookland-Cayce as her Bearcats will meet Indian Land Saturday afternoon for the Class 3A state championship.
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