Coach Leaphart retiring after 35 years at Lexington High School
Damone Leaphart has been a Lexington Wildcat since he started school at age six. He graduated from Lexington High School when he was 18.
Leaphart left the school to get his degree, but he immediately came back and was hired to be the athletic trainer in 1982. Leaphart is a Wildcat through and through.
The career he began at LHS 36 years ago, is coming to an end, right where it all started. Leaphart will be retiring in June after spending a collective 47 years at the school.
He has seen many changes during his years, including five principals, and 10 football coaches.
“Every time you have a new ‘sheriff’ in town – a football coach – it takes you about a year to figure each other out,” he said. “I have enjoyed working with each one of them.” One of the occupational changes he’s experienced is seeing the amount of sports that have been added to school athletics. “High school sports have evolved, more sports are offered for boys and girls than we could have ever imagined in 1982,” said Leaphart. But one thing, Leaphart said, that’s stayed the same over the years is his use of athletic tape. “We did the math, and I’ve used millions of yards of athletic tape. In fact I’ve used enough to tape the entire border of South Carolina,” he said.
But it’s not all sports. Leaphart is a self-proclaimed history buff, and has acquired quite a memorabilia collection during his stint at LHS. Dozens of pictures are framed on the walls of his office and training rooms. Old helmets, baseballs, pom-poms, and all things sports-related are proudly positioned in a display case in the corner of the room. With all the knowledge Leaphart has gained through his years at Lexington, he said he thinks he knows what he wants to do with it. “My desire is to write a book on Lexington Wildcat football, and continue to collect and store all Wildcats sports information,” he said.
The question every retiree anticipates was not a hard one for Leaphart to answer. What will he be doing with his time now? Sports will still be a part of his life, but Leaphart said he wants to give himself a little distance from LHS… at least for the first year. “I would love to go to New England and see an Ivy League football game,” he said. He also said he wants to spend time with his mother, family, and most notably, his wife. “Seems like she had to take care of our kids more than I was able to, because I was here with everybody else’s kids.”
Leaphart said he feels thankful for the time spent at a job he has always enjoyed. “I’ve been blessed to have worked at a place where I’ve wanted to practice my skills, and utilize them to help people,” he said.