Hamlet names new parks and rec director

McLaurin set to begin new job Feb. 9

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Related coverage
* Sept. 8: Parks and Rec director steps down
* Sept. 9: Bowman offers parting shot to City Council

HAMLET — Maurice McLaurin has been appointed as the new director of the city of Hamlet’s parks and recreation department.

McLaurin is a Richmond County native and grew up playing sports, having participated in many of Hamlet’s recreation programs as a young person. Now he will be responsible for directing the very sports programs he once played. He’s scheduled to begin his new job on Feb. 9.

McLaurin replaces former director Mitch Bowman, who submitted his resignation on Sept. 8, 2014 from the position he’d held for eight years. As director, Bowman, a Hamlet native, managed the youth tackle and flag football programs as well as cheerleading, soccer, baseball and basketball. He said soccer and basketball each averaged between 200 and 240 youth, while baseball averaged 250 athletes, cheerleading 140 and 320 combined in tackle and flag football.

Bowman had returned to Hamlet eight years ago after leaving a teaching job in West Palm Beach, Fla. After resigning, Bowman never made public his future plans. Since his departure, the position has been filled by Jerry Lamont. City Manager Marcus Abernethy said Lamont will return to his assistant director duties once McLaurin comes on board.

“For the last several months, Jerry has really been doing the work of two people, and without him, the Parks and Recreation programs would not be what they are today,” Abernethy said. “I am really appreciative of his hard work to assist us, and I am sure the kids and parents he serves are, too.”

Abernethy said Lamont has been employed by the city since May 2006. Before that, Lamont volunteered as a referee and coach with Hamlet parks and rec.

“He was very instrumental in a lot of things, including the startup of the soccer program,” Abernethy said. “Altogether, he has served Hamlet for over 30 years.”

Maurice McLaurin

Maurice McLaurin

The city used a panel of assessors from the parks and recreation field to evaluate each finalist vying to be Bowman’s successor.

“Out of all the talented applicants that applied for the position, Maurice stood out and quickly revealed to us that he undoubtedly was exactly who we needed,” said City Manager Marcus Abernethy.

McLaurin said he is very excited to soon be serving Hamlet.

“I have always been passionate about sports and I’m grateful to have been given this opportunity to lead the very same program I once was a part of as a child,” McLaurin said in a news release. “I had no idea when I graduated from college that it would take me 10 years to obtain my dream job. However, with patience and faith, God brought me here and I couldn’t be more excited for Feb. 9, 2015.”

For the last eight years, McLaurin has served as the program coordinator with Leak Street Alumni in Rockingham. In this position, he coordinated programs with his own and with other collaborating agencies to plan and organize youth programs. McLaurin also provided life skills coaching to at-risk youth. McLaurin was also responsible for managing program budgets that total approximately $145,000, a comparable figure to Hamlet’s parks and recreation program.

Prior to this appointment, McLaurin also worked with Moore County Schools teaching as well as coaching JV football and softball. He also Interned with the Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department in order to complete his bachelor’s degree.

McLaurin holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports and Recreation Management with a minor in Business Administration from Livingstone College. He is a graduate of Richmond Senior High School.

City officials believe Hamlet is on the right track in 2015 after a tumultuous 2013 and 2014, when elections and personalities, among other things, seemed to lead the city astray. It’s  certainly been a season of transition.

First, former police Chief Amery Griffin submitted his retirement papers in May. Shortly afterward, former city manager Marchell Adams-David resigned. The next day, so did Miranda Chavis, the city’s downtown coordinator and manager of the Hamlet Depot and Museum. Griffin’s interim replacement, Capt. Rodney Tucker, left that position to return to the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office. In November, Scott Waters was sworn in as police chief.

Filed in: Hamlet, Latest Headlines, News

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  • Jennifer Kelly Ethridge

    I went to school with Maurice. He was a very smart and hard working young man who loved all sports back then. So glad that he has been given this position, I think he will be great for Hamlet Parks and REC. Congratulations Maurice!

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