PILOT MOUNTAIN — At East Surry’s football game Friday night, the high school honored Barry Hall, who recently retired as athletic director.
Principal Diane Beane and members of the Surry County Board of Education gathered with Hall and his family on the field just before kickoff.
Beane said, “Barry Hall has been the heart of East Surry athletics for 21 years. He’s ensured that everything in our athletics department has run seamlessly. We appreciate him for everything he’s done for East Surry, and we’ll miss him.”
She added, “Barry left structures in place in the department so that athletics can continue successfully.”
After graduating from High Point University in 1971 with a double major in physical education and biology, Hall began his teaching career at East Surry that fall. He taught biology for more than 30 years and is still teaching driver’s education.
Four years into his career at East Surry, Hall married Rachel Shelton, and the two have been together the past 38 years.
Hall has been the varsity baseball coach since 1975. He has coached more than 1,000 baseball games with nearly 700 wins. Among high school coaches in North Carolina, he is second all-time in wins.
He also served as girls basketball coach for 10 years and volleyball coach for two years.
The long-time teacher and coach said at this time he still plans to coach baseball in the spring. However, cutting back the A.D. position has given him more free time.
It has been an adjustment the past couple of weeks, Hall admitted. Until this season, he had attended every home soccer match since the program’s inception years ago.
He said none of his accomplishments would have been possible without Rachel’s support at home. He missed out on a lot of things around the house in order to be on campus so much.
In fact, he said when he was coaching basketball, he took his baby with him.
The cheerleaders would take care of Bryan during the action, while Barry carried a diaper in his back pocket for timeouts and halftime.
It seems fitting now that Bryan leads the cheerleading squad in addition to being an art teacher, the coach said. His other child, Denise, is a registered nurse.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with some very good people,” he said. “From the administrators to coaches and fellow teachers. It’s been a privilege to have been at East Surry as long as I have, and one I don’t take lightly.”
Every coach knows that they would struggle to do their job without lots of support behind the scenes, he pointed out. There are secretaries and custodians and volunteers pitching in.
When Chad Freeman joined the baseball coaching staff, Chad’s father Jerry started helping out with things like maintaining the field, Hall said.
He also appreciates the good relationships he has made with sports reporters from The Mount Airy News and The Winston-Salem Journal over the decades.
Looking back to the start of his career, he said he was lucky that Coach Jim Morgan gave him a chance to coach. When Morgan retired as athletic director in 1992, Hall took over that role.
Hall said that over the years he has worked with three great women who served as finance officer for the school. They were Ruth Ward, Sandy Smith and Angie Smith.
“Without them, an A.D. doesn’t have a chance,” he said. “They kept me straight.”
During his time as A.D., the Cardinals added several new sports including JV and varsity boys soccer, girls soccer and girls golf.
Also during his time, the softball team won five state titles, and the golf team also won multiple titles.