Episcopal hiring Olympic coach as director of sports performance

Petros Kyprianou, hired by Episcopal as the director of sports performance, joins Garrett Scantling's alma mater. Kyprianou coached Scantling at Georgia and in the Olympics. (2021 WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Petros Kyprianou, who was Garrett Scantling’s coach at Georgia and served as a decathlon and heptathlon coach for the U.S. Olympic team, is joining the staff at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville as the director of sports performance, a rare position in high school athletics.

Kyprianou will create a sports performance culture at Episcopal that will impact all sports at Episcopal, not just track or football.

“Swimmers, cross-country, wrestlers. You name it,” said Episcopal athletics director Andy Kidd. “He’s gonna be able to impact everybody.”

While many high schools have strength and conditioning coaches and some contract with nutritionists, Episcopal is believed to be the first school in the area to hire someone to oversee sports performance as a category.

“At the high school level, this is very forward-thinking by the Episcopal School of Jacksonville’s leadership,” Kyprianou said. “To think about sports performance at this level is very forward-thinking and I’m blessed and grateful to be here.”

Kyprianou coached track and field for 13 years at Georgia, including serving as the head coach for both Track and Field and cross-country from 2015-2021. He led the Bulldogs to the national championship in 2018 and coached 61 SEC champions in his time in Athens. He also coached 18 Olympians, including Scantling, who was the focal point for the partnership to be forged.

“We actually had some Episcopal alums and parents that were at a going-away party for Garret at Strings (Sports Brewery in Springfield), and they talked to Petros and kind of found out that he was going to be doing some of his coaching here in Jacksonville, post-Olympics,” Kidd said. “And they said, ‘Well, have you thought about helping out?’ And so they gave me a shout and I connected with Petros. We met before he went to Tokyo and talked a few times while he was in Tokyo and (Head of School) Adam Green was very supportive to make it happen and next thing you know, here we are.”

Kyprianou has a familiarity with Jacksonville. He has a beach house here and was impressed with the facilities at Episcopal when Scantling showed him around. He says that he thinks there will be a difference in the athletes in as soon as a year.

“It starts with the weight room,” Kyprianou said. “It stretches over to nutrition, mental health, well-being in general. As Human beings, we are so complicated that it takes a lot more than Xs and Os to perform at a high level.”

Kyprianou will continue to coach world-class multi-sport athletes individually, and he’ll utilize the Episcopal track to do so. That will include Scantling, who took fourth-place in the Decathlon at the Tokyo games. That could be another benefit of the partnership.

“We have a lot of kids that want to compete at the next level in college and beyond and he’s shown that he can do that,” Kidd said. “Garrett Scantling is a great example. And so we really feel like he’s gonna come in and be a differentiating factor for us.”

About the Author:

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.