Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The only problem with naming Preston Giet a Man to Watch is he’s always on the move and it’s hard to watch what you can’t find.
Giet, along with his training partner Joe Call, has run seven days a week since Jan. 7, 2008 so his streak of never missing a daily run is now in its seventh year. They average 3.5 miles per day but sometimes embark on more ambitious treks such as a 14-mile jog to the North Charleston Wild Wing Café to grab a bite.
Each year Giet, a Summerville High School assistant principal, also participates in several adventure races that combine the skills of running, biking, canoeing, mountain climbing and navigating.
“Preston promotes health and wellness by setting a good example for students and the community,” his wife Kristen said. “He has completed two marathons, an ultra marathon, a half marathon and several 24, 48 and 72-hour adventure races ranging anywhere from 50 to 300 miles. … he is also a wonderful husband and father.”
His favorite race is one held annually in North Carolina because his participation there raises money toward providing college scholarships to the children of soldiers who died in battle.
By the age of 5, Giet was participating in football and wrestling. The Summerville native spent much of his childhood on the local Dixie Youth Baseball and Sertoma Youth Football fields and in the gym. At SHS he lettered in football, wrestling and track. The 1997-98 school year was big for him as that was the year he started dating Kristen, helped the Green Wave wrestling team claim the state championship and graduated.
That summer he enrolled at The Citadel, where he earned a degree in education.
“My grandfather went to The Citadel and I had the opportunity to walk on and play football,” Giet said. “I jumped at the chance to play college football and, because I knew I was going to live in Summerville the rest of my life, I thought it was a good chance to build some relationships and start some connections.”
The Bulldogs recruited him as a linebacker but coaches discovered he also had a talent for long snapping.
“One of my friends was the Summerville long snapper so I didn’t do it in high school,” Giet said. “One day we were just messing around in the locker room and I snapped a ball to a kicker. He asked me to do it again and after I did he went and found the special teams coach. I snapped some for him in a hallway and he decided that was my new position. I didn’t complain, it got me out on the field more.”
After college, Giet worked in the Wescott Golf Club pro shop, but only until he was offered a job as a SHS social studies teacher.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and a coach and come back to Summerville,” Giet said. “This community was really important to shaping my life and who I am. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Over the last 12 years, Giet helped coach the Green Wave wrestling, football, track and JV boys basketball teams and served as the liaison between the SHS athletic department and faculty. In that role, he helps improve communication, foster support and nurture academic success for student athletes.
“I listen to any concerns teachers have and make sure the appropriate coaches know about them,” Giet said. “Coaches have a lot of leverage to encourage conformity. They can use playing time or extra work at practice to help promote the right kind of behavior whether that is academically or just an athlete’s behavior in general.”
Of course he also makes sure the appropriate coaches get word when an athlete is praised for their behavior or actions.
Giet stepped down as a Green Wave coach when he became an administrator in October but he still serves as the liaison and volunteers to supervise sporting events. He had mixed feelings about the switch, but says he likes not being limited to working with just the students in his class or on certain teams.
“As an assistant principal you get to have a bigger influence on more kids,” he said. “Over the last few years I’ve realized that, at this school, athletics aren’t the only area where we are competitive. That is actually a big part of my decision to transition from coaching to administration. Our band is one of the best in the state. Our ROTC program and flag corps are nationally recognized. Our robotics team routinely wins. I want to support all of our kids who want to be competitive.”
Giet is also a co-founder and current vice president of the Summerville High School Athletic Club, which is designed to build relationships between SHS athletic programs and members of the community and to raise money for all SHS athletic teams.
“The SHAC started with a group of coaches and administrators asking how can we support our kids without having to ask the taxpayers and the school board for money,” Giet said. “Basically we just want to help keep Summerville’s athletic programs at the top.”
The club is about to launch a campaign to raise funds for building a new facility that could include a gymnasium, wrestling room, locker rooms, training room and coaches offices.
When Giet isn’t at school, running or out promoting the SHAC, he can often be found at the same places where he could be found when he was a kid. Giet is a volunteer coach for Parks Field, where his daughter Ashton and son Nolen play T-ball. He also helps out with the Summerville Takedown Club. Now that he isn’t a high school coach, he says he may look into coaching Sertoma Youth Football.