Thomas McElveen has been named the new head coach for the Fort Dorchester Boys Basketball Program.
McElveen already worked for the school as the head coach for the Patriots’ B-team Football program. Last season, the team was undefeated under his leadership.
“He has a variety of high-school coaching experience and has coached travel basketball,” Fort Dorchester Athletic Director Steve LaPrad said. “He knows all the athletes in the area and I think he is a good fit for our basketball program.”
McElveen brings 18 years of coaching experience to the positon. Prior to coming to Fort Dorchester, he served as the head coach for the Goose Creek High B-team Basketball, B-team Football and JV Football teams. He has 12 years of travel basketball experience, including time spent as a director and coach for the Upward Stars Charleston program. He also helped found the Palmetto Stampede travel football program and worked as a soccer, basketball, football and baseball coach for North Charleston’s Northwoods recreation program.
“Above all things, I want to first thank God for all he has done for my family,” McElveen, who is also a minister at Gospel Mission Apostolic Church, said. “God’s favor is evident in every aspect of my life and I wouldn’t be where I am without him. Also I want to thank Coach LaPrad for taking a chance on me by allowing me to coach basketball at this level. I’m so excited for the opportunity to help these young men reach their highest potential and goals with sports and in life. These are the future leaders of our community.”
He replaces Jacob Smith, who after one season as the FD Boys coach stepped down from the position. Because the process of hiring a new coach carried into June, the Patriots missed out on normal summertime activities, such as camps. However, McElveen isn’t concerned.
“I don’t feel like it will have a negative impact for our team because a lot of the core kids are still playing travel basketball,” he said. “They are receiving good, quality coaching and are playing against good competition.”
While he has ideas on how to best help next year’s team succeed, he intends to be cautious when it comes to planning until he gets a better feel for exactly what kind of talent he will have to work with.
“I have a certain style of play that I prefer, but I’m not sure of the makeup of our team since I haven’t had the chance to see everybody yet so at this point, that remains undecided,” he said. “I am going to change the culture of Fort Basketball. I want to get all the basketball players that don’t normally tryout to come out and play for our school. I feel like our physicality, mental toughness and our competitive drive will separate us from other schools in and outside of our region.”
McElveen is a former Stall High athlete. He played football for the Warriors from 1991-95. He wrestled at Stall for three seasons and played baseball in 1992.
He eventually married his high-school sweetheart. He and Hollie Winge McElveen celebrated 21 years of marriage this year. The couple has three children.
Their oldest son, Jordan, played basketball at Davis and Elkins College before finishing his collegiate career at Catawba College, where his team won the SAC Tournament Championship for the 2018-2019 season. He scored more than 1,000 points and had more than 500 rebounds during his college career.
Their middle son, Jeffery, is in his red-shirt sophomore season at Furman University, where his team won the SoCon Conference Championship for the 2018 season.
Their youngest son, Justin, is a rising junior at Fort Dorchester and plays for the Patriots’ varsity football team.
In addition to coaching and preaching, McElveen works full time at NWIC Lant. as an IT Specialist.