THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Legends Moving On
EVERY SEASON BRINGS CHANGE, ESPE-
cially in the head coaching ranks. But Friday nights
will not be the same in a few towns as some of
North Carolina’s most prominent coaches have
stepped away from the game. Some head coaches become just as big in a community as the
school itself. These are the men who have shaped
the lives of young men and led their programs to
numerous big wins and championships. Nearly
1,300 wins and a lot of charisma will be missing
from the sidelines this fall as five coaches are no
longer calling the shots. Legendary coaches Jim
Oddo (Charlotte Catholic), Allen Brown (
Thomasville), Russell Stone (Douglas Byrd), Tommy Sloan
(Midway), and Bruce Ollis (Polk County) have all
stepped away from the game and will leave a
huge void in their communities.
Remembering a Great One
WE LOST A LEGEND THIS SPRING WHEN
former New Hanover head coach Joe Miller passed
away. Coach Miller was a larger-than-life man
who had a positive influence on many young men,
including greats Trot Nixon, Alge Crumpler and
Clyde Simmons. Miller’s 30-year coaching career
included back-to-back softball championships,
over a decade of playoff appearances in football
and duties as the county-wide athletic director.
Pod System Abolished
LAST YEAR THE POD SYSTEM WAS ELIMI-
nated in the 4A, 3A and 2A ranks, but now it’s
officially gone in the 1A classification. The POD
System was adopted in 2010 as a way of reducing travel expenses. It was a schematic that
grouped regional teams in the football playoff
brackets in an attempt to eliminate teams from
having to make long road trips during the post-season. The drawback, however, was unbalanced brackets and, in some cases, the better
teams that would normally battle in the third
and fourth rounds would face each other in the
first and second rounds. The removal of this
system has been an overwhelming hit among
coaches and fans in the 1A ranks.
A NEW MERCY RULE WILL BE IN EFFECT
during the 2014 football season in an attempt to
keep games from getting out of hand. The new rule,
which is already unpopular among head coaches,
kicks in when a team achieves a 42-point lead. At
that point, the game can either be terminated or
an automatic running clock is instituted. North
Carolina isn’t the first state to institute such a
rule, but coaches claim the rule will take away
playing time from bench players who normally get
substantial playing time during blowouts.
Still Coaching after 63 Years
WHILE THE COACHING CAROUSEL CONTIN-
ues to turn each offseason, there is one school
where the plug has been pulled from the outlet.
Summerville High School hasn’t had a new coach
since 1953, when John McKissick took over.
The white-haired legend will turn 88 on Sept.
25 and has no plans to retire. McKissick, who
has led Summerville to 10 state titles, has the
most wins in the country (613) after the Green
Wave posted an 11-3 mark last season.
THREE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING
coaches were inducted into the South Carolina
Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame over
the summer. David Berry (Blackville-Hilda), Dave
Gutshall (Dorman) and Mickey Moss (five schools)
each deserved the honor they were bestowed.
Berry has been at Blackville-Hilda since
1989, where he has posted a 245-74 record,
won three state titles, claimed 13 region cham-
pionships and had 24 winning seasons.
Gutshall is 204-79 since becoming the Dorman
coach in 1993 (after winning three state titles and
posting a 140-40 record at North Carolina’s Burlington Cummings High School). He has won two
state titles at Dorman and his only losing season
with the Cavaliers was his first year.
Moss, who retired in 2013, became a head
coach in 1981 and won a state title at East
Clarendon. He also coached at Saluda, Lake
City, Wren and Blacksburg. He won 185 games.
BY JASON GILMER
Missing One of the Greats
IT ONLY MADE SENSE THAT FOOTBALL
helmets from every team Barry Byers covered sat on
the stage during his memorial service. The longtime
prep sports reporter for The Herald in Rock Hill died
on Oct. 18, 2013, after a long battle with cancer.
Byers joined The Herald’s staff in 1989 after
eight years as a correspondent and became the
dean of prep sports writers in his state. Every
other writer compared their work to what he did
and fans around the state could recognize him
because of his large white mustache, big appetite
and room-filling laugh.
Hall of Fame coaches, friends and Tennessee
Titan Chris Hope were on hand to share stories
and laughs. Byers died on a Friday and that night
games in Rock Hill included a moment of silence
for one loved by so many. His presence will be
missed at games this fall.
Shrine Bowl Coaches Named
PELION COACH BEN FREEMAN WILL BE THE
head coach of the South Carolina team during
the Dec. 20 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. The
game, which is played at Gibbs Stadium on the
Wofford College campus, pits the top seniors
from South Carolina against those from North
Carolina. Freeman has been at Pelion for 25
years and is the father of New York Jets offensive lineman Dalton Freeman. Freeman’s assistant coaches will be Justin Gentry (Chapin),
Paul Sutherland (Pendleton), Jeff Calabrese
(Hartsville), Trey Woodberry (West Florence)
and Robert Williams (Christ Church).
Replacing The Cage
SINCE THE EARLY 1950S, BROOKLAND-
Cayce High School in Columbia has played at a
venue known as The Cage because of its small
size. More than 15 years ago a new stadium
was proposed and land was purchased. Delays
forced the Bearcats to continue to play in The
Cage. The new stadium seats 5,000 fans and
features artificial turf.
THE BYRNES REBELS HAVE MADE A NAME
for themselves nationally during the last decade.
This year they will face one of the biggest names in
prep football, as the Rebels travel to California to
play De La Salle High School on Sept. 12.
De La Salle is owner of “The Streak,” the longest
winning streak in the nation of 151 games from 1992
to 2004. During that time the all-boys private school
was named “national champions” seven times. Byrnes is no stranger to out-of-state contests, having
won games against teams from Ohio, Tennessee,
Florida and Georgia over the past several seasons.
This will be Byrnes’ first trip to the West Coast.
BY CHRIS HUGHES