Florence County Sheriff-Elect focused on finishing coaching career on a high note

Future Florence County sheriff has eyes on state championship

LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) - Florence County Sheriff-Elect TJ Joye scored a big victory election night and soon he’ll tackle crime as sheriff.

Before he becomes Sheriff Joye, he wants to remain Coach Joye for a few more weeks.

Joye has coached The Carolina Academy Bobcats for over 20 years, many of those years while also serving as a trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Following his election, Joye plans to step down as the team’s coach at the end of the season. He added that he has already started the transition process to his new role, making phone calls and getting his team together as he’ll take over the office in January.

“I’ve already worked on that team and talked with Jerry Bruder with the sheriff’s association, and I’m working on that as we speak now and my team is already in place so I’m working on that as well," said Joye. “So I hope to make it through the playoffs the next two weeks and go to the big house."

Despite a pandemic and a campaign, last week, Joye led the Bobcats to a win over Pee Dee Academy clinching a region title as he looks forward to his final playoff run.

“Running all day politicking and then coming to practice late at night, and then we had the COVID outbreak, but you’ve just got to trust in God and that’s what we’ve done," he said.

Right now, Joye said his focus is on football, he credits the resiliency of his assistant coach Stuartt Miles and his players for getting the Bobcats this far and he wants to be there for them until the end.

“These kids have worked hard, they’ve been with me for four years. That’s a good group of kids and I love them. I don’t want to short change them and I’m focused," he said.

During his tenure, Joye has led the Bobcats to 4 state title game appearances, but they’ve come up short each time. Joye has his mind made on which win would be bigger between the sheriff’s election or a potential state championship.

“State championship for the kids," said Joye.

Joye isn’t making this final journey into the playoffs alone, either. His son Matthew is the team’s senior quarterback.

The Bobcats face off against Hilton Head Prep Friday night in the first round of the SCISA playoffs.

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